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Author of "The Coins of England," "Ancient Coins and Medals,"
etc. etc.









THE increasing and even importance, of a

knowledge of antiquities becoming every day more
horoughly appreciated, and every branch of archaeology
jeing now cultivated by a host of earnest admirers, popular
md condensed manuals of its various sections are rendered
ndispensably necessary to those who have not leisure to
nake each an especial object of study.
The knowledge of ancient coins and their associated
sources has been justly termed by the celebrated Mionnet
une magnifique branche d' archeologie ; and it is to this
Branch (not overrated in the epithet of Mionnet), that the
^resent work is devoted.
Since the -time of Pinkerton, whose entertaining but now

mperfect work has always been read with pleasure, no

English treatise has appeared embracing the whole subject,
svhich is not either too scanty to satisfy the curiosity of the
3ducated inquirer, or too technical and voluminous.
It has, therefore, been the author's aim, in the present

svork, to adopt that juste milieu which shall embody informa-

tion, sufficiently copious and accurate, and yet clear of

technicalities and minutiae.
One principal advantage of the present volume consists in
strictly chronological arrangement. Beginning with the

firstindications of positive coinage among the Greeks, and

the development of the art effected by them, directly and
indirectly, the student is led to the general state of Greek
coinage at the decline of the kingdoms of the Macedonian
empire. The Eoman coinage follows, and after the fall of
the empire, a sketch of that of modern Europe, in ful"
detail as regards England. Indeed, the British coins ol
every reign, from the Anglo-Saxons to the present period,
are adduced seriatim.
The principal matter has been so arranged as to presenl
itself in a familiar reading form, instead of in dry cata-

logues but, as the latter are essential for reference, they


are given in a very complete series of indexes at the enc

of the volume.
Until the student has advanced far enough to require
the great work of Eckhel which contains, in a kind o:
Lexicon, whatever is known of ancient coins to a very recem
period the present volume will, it is believed, afford him al
the instruction, entertainment, and general information, he
is likely to require.
H. N. H.











The incused Coinage of Magna Grsecia 30

The flat Coinage of Populonia 38






Coins of the finest period of Greece Proper . . . .49

Coins of the finest period, of the Asiatic Colonies of Greece . 53
Coins of Sicily of the finest period 56
The Coins of Carthage 62
Coins of the finest period of the Greek Cities of the South of



Of the distinction between Autonomous and Regal Coins . 72

Coins of the Kings of Macedonia 73









Coins of Getas, King of the Edoneans 88
Scilurus, King of European Sarmatia, in the first

century before Christ .91

Coins of the Kings of Pseonia 91
Kings of another portion of Thrace ... 92
Kings of Caria
Kings of Cyprus 95
Tyrants of Heraclea, Timotheus and Dionysius . 96


Coins of the Kings of Epirus (the Modern Albania) . . . 97

Kings of lllyria 100
Coins of Lysimachus, King of Thrace and Macedonia . . . 101
Coins of Antigonus, styling himself King of Asia . . .101
Coins of the Kings of Bithynia 102
Queens of the seaport City of Prusias . . .104
Kings of Pergamus 104
Kings of Cappadocia 105
Kings of Armenia 106
Kings of Sparta 107
Kings of Sicily . , . . . . . 108








The Greek Coinage of Bactria and North-western India . . 158



Gaul 170
The Native Coins of Spain 173
Coins of Britain previous to the domination of the Romans . 176




Modern and Ancient Money . . . . . 180

Greek Coins divided into three classes 181
The Weights, Denominations, &c., of Greek Gold Coins . . 182
Of the Foreign Gold Coins circulating in Greece . . . 186
The Gold Coinage of Philip II. of Macedon, Alexander the
Great, and other Greek Dynasties 188
Greek Coins of Electrum *
. ..190
Silver Coinages of the ^Eginetan standard 191
of the Attic standard ... 193

Of the Greek Coinage of Copper . . . . . . 195
Concluding Summary of the Weights and Value of Greek
Coins 199


Greek Coins named after their Types 202
after the State by which they were issued 203
after Princes first issuing them, or whose
portraits they bore 203





Types of the First Period 206
On the Obverse and Reverse of Ancient Coins . . . . 209
Second Period of Greek Types 210
Third Period of Greek Types 212
Fourth Period of Greek Types 213
Fifth Period of Greek Types 215
Portraits of Celebrated Men on the Greek Coinage . . . 216
Of the Minor Types on Greek Coins 216
Of Countermarks on Greek Coins 217



Inscriptions on Greek Coins of the Regal Series . . . 229



Art displayed in Greek Regal Coins 245


Pa K e


or "
" " "
The Ms As in the square form 250
" As
The square of the time of Servius Tullius . . . 253
The " As " in the circular form 257
The "As "in the other Italian States 262
The "As" of theRutuli 262
ofTuder 263

oflguvium -
i * 263
ofVolterra 263
of Ariminium , 264
ofHatria 264
The diminution of the weight of the " As " . , , 265




First Coinage of Silver k 269

Of the Silver Coined for the Romans by the subjected Greek
Cities .
The First Roman Coinage of Gold 273

Silver Coins of the Social War 276
Coins of the Roman " "
Republic, termed Family or Consular
Coins 279
Cornelia Gens , 284
^Emilia Gens t 285
Plautia Gens
Claudia Gens .... 286

Coins of Tituria Gens 287
A Coin bearing the Family name Nummonia . . . . 288
A Coin of L. Plautius Plancus
Coins of the Marcia Gens
...,,,.. 288
Lucretia Gens
Voconia Gens
..,..,.. 290
Corauficia Gens .,...,.
...,-.,. 290
Aecoleia Gens
Antistia Gens
. , . , , . ,291

Carisia Gens . 292

Cassia Gens 292
Pompeia Gens 292
Pomponia Gens , 293
Eoscia Gens , 293
Servilia Gens , 293
Mamilia Gens , , 294
Herennia Gens . 294
Posthumous Portraits on the Eoman " Family Coins . . 295
Contemporary Portraits on Coins of the Roman Republic . 295
Of the Coins in general of the last period of the Republic and
Triumvirate 301



Roman Colonial Coins , 308


Coins of the Reign of Tiberius, from A.D. 14 to 37 . .317

The Reign of Caligula, from A.D. 37 to 41 S19
Coins of the Reign of Claudius, from A.D. 41 to 54 . . 320
Coins of the Reign of Nero, from A.D. 54 to 68 . . . 322
Galba, from A.D. 68 to 69 323

Otho, ascended the Throne and died in A.D. 69 . . . . 324

Vitellius, ascended the Throne and was murdered in A.D. 69 . 325
Vespasian, from A.D, 69 to 79 326
Titus,from A.D. 79 to 81 . 327
Domitian, from A.D. 81 to 96 . 328
Nerva, from A.D. 96 to 98 . 330
Trajan, from A.D. 98 to 117 . 331
Hadrian, from A.D. 117 to 138 333
Antoninus Pius, from A.D. 138 to 161 335
Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, from A.D. 161 to 180 . . 337
Commodus, from A.D. 180 to 193 340
Pertinax, from January to March, A.D. 193 . . . . 343
Julianus Didius, from March to June, A.D. 193
Pescennius Niger, A.D. 193 to 195
Albinus, A.D. 193 to 197
.;.... . . . 343
Septimus Severus, from A.D. 193 to 211 345
Caracalla and Geta, from A.D. 211 to 217
Macrinus. from A.D. 217 to 218 .... . . .


Heliogabalus, from A.D. 218 to 222 349
Alexander, from A.D. 222 to 235 350
Maximinus, from A.D. 235 to 238 351
Maximus, Gordianus Africanus, Gordianus Africanus, jun.,
Babbinus, Pupienus, and Gordianus Pius, and Philip the
Arabian, from A.D. 218 to 249 353
Marinus Jotapianus, Pacatianus, and Sponsianus, Pretenders,
between A.D. 248 and 250 356
Decius, from A.D. 249 to 251 356
Trebonianus Gallus, from A.D. 252 to 254 . . . .357
JEmilianus, declared Emperor A.D. 254, and assassinated the
same year . 358
Valerianus, from A.D. 245 to 263 358
Gallienus, from A.D. 263 to 268 359
The Thirty Tyrants ,360





Weights, Values, and Denominations of Roman Metals, Copper

or Bronze 373
The Sestertius, or First Bronze 376
Second and Third Bronze 378
Roman Silver, its Weights, Values, and Denominations . . 380
Gold . . 383
Types of the Roman Coinage 384
Inscriptions on the Roman Coinage 391
Art displayed in the Roman Coinage . . . . . 396


Selection of some particular Class of Coins .... 402

Forged Coins


Coins of the Saxon Heptarchy Series of Silver Pennies . 411

Kings of Kent . . . . . , . 411
Mercia 412
East Angles 414
Northumberland The Stycas . .415
Saints 419
Dignitaries of the Church 419


Egbert, from A.D. 800 to 837 , . 420

from 837 to 856 ,421
Ethelwfl, A.D.

Ethelbald, from A.D. 855 to 860

Ethelbearht, from A.D. 856 to 866
. , . . . .
Ethelred, from A.D. 866 to 871 . . . . . , . 421
Aelfred the Great, from A.D. 871 to 901 . . . .
Edward the Elder, from A.D. 901 to 925 422
JEthelstan, from A.D. 925 to 941 . . . . . 422
Eadmund, from A.D. 941 to 946 423
Eadred, from A.D. 946 to 955 423
Eadwig, from A.D. 955 to 959 423
Eadgar, from A.D. 958 to 975 424
Edweard the Martyr, from A.D. 975 to 978 . . . . 424
^Ethelred, son of Elfrida, from A.D. 978 to 1016 . . .424
Edmund Ironside, son of JEthelred, from A.D. 1016 to 1017 . 425
Cnut, from A.D. 1017 to 1035
Harold I., from A.D. 1035 to 1040
Harthacnut, from A.D. 1040 to 1C42
...... 425
Edward the Confessor, from A.D 1042 to 1066 . . .426
Harold II., A.D. 1066 , . 427

William I., from A.D. 1066 to 1087 429
William Rufus, from A.D. 1087 to 1100 429
Henry L, from A.D. 1100 to 1135 430
Stephen, from A.D. 1135 to 1154 430
Henry II., from A.D. 1154 to 1189 432
Richard L, from A.D. 1189 to 1199 432
John, from A.D. 1199 to 1216 432
Henry III., from A.D. 1216 to 1272 433

Edward I, from A.D. 1272 to 1307 434
Edward II., from A.D. 1307 to 1327 436
Edward III., from A.D. 1327 to 1377 436
Richard II., from A.D. 1377 to 1399 440
Henry IV., from A.D. 1399 to 1413 440
Henry V., from A.D. 1413 to 1422 441
Henry VI, from A.D. 1422 to 1461 441
Edward IV., from A.D. 1461 to 1483 442
Richard III., A.D. 1483 to 1485 443


Henry VII., from A.D. 1485 to 1509 444

Henry VIIL, from A.D. 1509 to 1547 447
Edward VI., from A.D. 1547 to 1553 450

Mary, from A.D. 1553 to 1558 455
Elizabeth, from A.D. 1558 to 1602 457
James L, from A.D. 1602 to 1625 462
Charles I., from A.D. 1625 to 1649 466

The Commonwealth, from A.D. 1648 to 1660 . . . . 472
Charles II, from A.D. 1660 to 1684 475


James from A.D. 1684 to 1688

II., 481
William and Mary, and William III., from A.D. 1688 to 1702 . 481
Anne, from A.D. 1702 to 1714 485
George L, from A.D. 1714 to 1727 488
George II., from A.D. 1729 to 1760 489


George III., from A.D. 1760 to 1820 491

George IV., from A.D. 1820 to 1830 498
William IV, from A.D. 1830 to 1837 . , 499

THRONE 1837 ,501

Scotch Silver Coinage 502
Gold Coinage 506
Copper Coinage 507
Irish Coinage


V. 513

. . . .

Modern Italy
of Lorraine
Tariff of the
of the Counts and Count Dukes of Bar

Value and Price of Foreign" Coin issued by the

. . . . 519

Duke of Lorraine, A.D. 1511 .....

Gold 524
Coinages of Holland, Bohemia, &c
Coinage of Russia


Denmark and the Northern

. 527

the French Monarchy

Asia, Africa, and
States . . . 528


Scale of Prices of Greek Coins of Cities and Princes . . 537

the Imperial Greek Coinage . . . . 537
Approximative Table of the Early Uncial Copper of Rome, the
" As " and its subdivisions 538
Approximative Table of the Value of Series of Roman Repub-
lican Coins, commonly called the Family Series, princi-

pally Silver Denarii 538

Scale of Prices of the principal Coins of the Roman Emperors 539
Remarks on the Prices of English and Scottish Coins . . 539


of chief Greek Cities occurring on Coins . . .548

Names of Greek Magistrates, &c., on Coins . . . . 549
Games mentioned on Greek and Roman Coins . . . . . 549
Pa K e

Alphabetical List of Important Greek Autonomous Coins, with

their Comparative Degrees of Rarity 550
List of Prices of Greek Autonomous Coins realised at recent
Sales -'
. . . .571

List of Prices of Greek Regal Coins 585

Alphabetical Index to the preceding List of Greek Regal
Coins, &c . 587
List of Imperial Greek Coins struck with Greek Inscriptions,
in the Dependencies of Rome, in Europe, Asia, and Africa 590


. . . . .602
List ofRoman Colonial Coins, marking the Degrees of Rarity 626
Cognomina, Surnames, and Adopted Names, found on Roman
Consular Coins, with the Families to which they belong . 629
Coins of the Roman Families (sometimes termed Consular
Coins) in Gold, Silver, and Copper, stating then* com-
parative Degrees of Rarity 632
Imperial Coinage of Rome Coins of the Emperors, Empresses,
Caesars, and Tyrants of the Roman Empire . . . . 637
Coins of the Gothic Princes of Italy, Africa, &c. . . . 652
Eastern Empire after the Final Fall of the
Western Empire 653
French Emperors 658
Byzantine Emperors Restored . . . . 658
List of the present Prices of Roman Coins, of
Gold, Silver, and
Copper, from Julius Csesar to the Fall of the Empire . 660
The Imperial Roman Series coined at Alexandria, with their
Degrees of Rarity 676
Prices of the Parts of the Roman "As," and those of other
Italian States 678
Inscriptions found on the Coinage of Great Britain . . 679
List of present Prices of Norman
English Coins since the
Conquest . 685
INDEX p 637

Fig. Fig.
1. Miletus. 8. Lampsacus.
2. Sardis. 9. Cyzicus.
3. do. 10. Colophon.
4. do. 11. Chios.
5. do. 12. Abydos.
6i. Gold Daric. 13. Clazomene.
6. Phocea. 14. Phocea.
7. Teos. 15. Cyzicus.


Fig. Fig.
1. ^Egina (1st period). 9. Boaotia.
2. do. (2nd period). 10. Lete.
3. do. (3rd period). 11. Dyracchium.
4. Argos. 12. Ceos.
5. Uncertain. 13. Cyzicus.
6. Coressas. 14. Abydos.
7. Teos. 15. Samoa.
8. Athens.


Fig. Fig.
1. Chalcedon. 7. Crotona.
2. Selinus. 8. Metapontum.
3. Corinth. 9. Sybaris.
4. Syracuse. 10. Metapontum.
5. Caulonia. 11. do.
6. Tarentum. 12. Populonia.


Fig. Fig.
1. Abdera. 7. Athens.
2. Alexander I. of Macedonia. 8. Methymne.
3. Clazomene. 9. Lete.
4. Syracuse. 10. Acanthus.
5. Maronea. 11. Archelaus, King of Mace-
6. Cyrene. donia.
1. Athens. 7. Syracuse, Decadrachm or
2. Boeotia. Great Medallion.
3. Delphi (?) 8. Gelas.
4. Ephesus. 9. Panormus (?)
5. Clazomene. 10. Heraclea.
6. Panticapseum.


Alexander the Great (Tetra- Juba, King of Numidia.
drachm). Prusias, King of Bithynia
Perseus, last King of Mace- (Tetradrachm).
donia (Tetradrachm). Nicomedes II., King of
Philip II., of Macedon. Bithynia.
Mithridates, King of Pontus


Arsaces Orodes, King of Cleopatra and
Parthia. VTIL, King and Queen
Antiochus the Great, King of Syria.
of Syria. Vararanes, King of Persia.
Ptolemy VIII., King of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt
Egypt. (with portrait of Marc
Artaxerxes, King of Persia Antony on reverse).
(of the Sassanian Dy-


The As Grave. Empress Livia.
Denarius of the Republic. Drusus the Elder.
Augustus. Augustus Caesar.


Tiberius. Claudius.
Caligula and Drusilla. Messalina.
Caligula. Nero.


Galba. Titus.
Otho. Trajan.
Vespasian. Domitian.


First English shilling (Henry Silver penny of William I.
Edward I.
Gold noble of Edward III. ^Ethelstan.
Sixpence of the Common- crown of Charles II.









. .
. 272
......... . .
. ..
IV., 520



MUCH lias been well and eloquently written on the interest

of the study of coins, from the time of Petrarch to the
present day, and yet the number of those who have sought
amusement and instruction in that pursuit, has been, and
still remains, but small: perhaps because there has been,
with one or two exceptions, no recent work taking a middle
course between the voluminous treatises which catalogue
every coin belonging to each class, whether generally inte-
resting or not, and slight works which do not contain
sufficient detail to satisfy the curiosity of those whose inte-
rest in the subject has been excited. 'However this may be,
I will again attempt to state briefly, some of the points of
greatest interest connected with numismatic study.
As historical records, coins have proved themselves of the
highest importance, and even from the very infancy of the
art, their valuable testimony commences. To the Greeks we
owe, if not the invention, at all events, the very early
general extension of a circulating medium in this form, and
on their coins of the very earliest period we find records of
the migrations, the mythology, and the manners and state
of civilisation of this great and interesting people. For
instance, on a gold coin of the most ancient fabric, we find
the migration of the Phocean colony to Asia Minor, recorded
in an unmistakeable manner, by what has been termed a
speaking type." Stephen of Byzantium relates that the
ships of these Greeks were, on their voyage, followed by an

immense number of seals, and it was, probably, on this

account that the city they founded, received the name of
Phocea, from Qax*)* the Greek name of a seal, and that
they also adopted the seal as the type or badge of their
coinage. These gold pieces of the Phoceans were well
known among the Greek states and other neighbouring na-
tions, and are frequently referred to by ancient authors ;

thus, from a single coin, we obtain the corroboration of the

legend of the swarm of seals, of the remote epoch of the
emigration in question, the coin being evidently of the
earliest period (most probably of the middle of the seventh
century before the Christian era), and also contemporary
evidence of the state of Greek art at that period, as exhibited
in the execution of the rude but expressive image, which it
exhibits in bold relief on one side only, the other bearing
merely a deep rough indent, the mark of the punch by means
of which the lump of gold was driven into the die The
deities of the Greek mythology are at first symbolised on the
coins of a state, by certain objects which were sacred to
them as Ceres, by the ear of barley; Bacchus, by the bunch

of grapes Diana, by the stag but as skill in art increased,

; ;

we find noble idealised heads representing the deities them-

selves, and having peculiar and suitable features and charac-
ters. At a somewhat later period it became customary to
place the name of the chief magistrate, for the time being,
on the public money, and we have thus preserved to us many
names of high interest. As, for instance, on a Theban coin
we have the first four letters of the name of Epaminondas
the names being seldom written in full and
many others
of equal importance and interest such names
; occurring long
before portraits of princes or magistrates, or
relative to them, are found on coins.
As affording interesting glimpses of mythology, I may
remark, that some Athenian coins have, on the reverse,
a poppy between ears of corn both emblems of the wor-
ship of Ceres and recalling, that in acknowledgment of
the hospitality of Meganira, the wife of Celeus, she
Triptolemus the art of agriculture. Poppies were also
sacred to Ceres, not
only as a symbol of abundance, as
growing most profusely in the midst of corn-fields, but be-
cause Jupiter caused her by means of this flower to

sleep, and so forget for a time her grief at the loss of her
daughter Proserpine. The deep influence of these mythic
legends on the feelings and national institutions of the
Greeks are vividly evidenced by these types placed upon the
public coinage. Some Athenian coins record the performance
of national games, especially those having a torch on the
reverse, "which is an allusion to the games celebrated three
times a-year, in honour of Prometheus and Vulcan, on which
occasion such coins were struck. At these games the vo-
taries assembled at night, and at the altar of the deity on
which a fire was kept burning, those who wished to contend
for the prize, at a given signal, lighted a torch at the altar
fire, and ran to a certain goal in the city. The first in the
race, if his torch* were extinguished in the contest gave
place to the second, who, if not more fortunate, gave place
to the third, or to the one, in short, who arrived with his
torch still alight. As the competitors were compelled to
run at full speed, it not unfrequently happened that all the
torches were extinguished, w^hen the prize was reserved for
the ensuing festival. Occasionally these games were per-
formed on horseback, and, as on foot, always at full speed.
Some archaeologists have imagined the game of the mocoli,
as still practised on the last day of the Eoman Carnival, to
be a traditional form of this antique festival of the Athe-
nians, from whom it spread to other countries, for Athens
was, as it were, the temple of Greece, and her citizens were
imbued, perhaps more than any other people, with religious
feelings. Incense was ever burning on her altars, and her
principal Divinities were worshipped not only in all parts of
the Grecian peninsula, but in many countries beyond its
In the Greek series more purely historical
late coins of the
interests become engaged, and when we examine the pro-
fusion of noble coins of Alexander the Great, still in exist-
ence, and those of the chiefs who reduced the vast provinces
of his empire into independent kingdoms, we feel the reality
of those great events in the story of man brought more
vividly before us than by any written records. Those metallic

The torch on the coins of Amphipolis may possibly allude to games of
description, though generally thought to be a mere symbol of light, and
to allude to the
worship of Apollo, or Phabus.

monuments, with, the portraits and names of the great

Ptolemy, of Seleucus, of Lysimachus, still fresh and bright

upon them as on the day they were minted, open up a vast
and striking picture of that age of giants, and bear irrefrag-
able testimony to the truth of all the principal records which
have come down to us. They have also, by the indefatigable
research and learning of eminent numismatists, brought to
light other events of which no written record existed.
for instance, as the Greek domination in Bactria, long after
the time of Alexander a nearly complete series of the coins
of Greek princes of that portion of Asia having been recently
discovered restoring to the world a lost history, and possibly
the means also of deciphering a lost language. Some of the
inscriptions on this interesting and important series of coins
being bilingual.
The coins of the Greek colonies of Italy, Sicily, Spain, and
Gaul, also offer an endless variety of interesting illustrations
of history, biography, and the progress of the arts, as will
be seen when, in the ensuing pages, we have to treat of
them in some detail.
But the Roman series which rose, as it were, on the ruins
of that of Greece, is, perhaps, more generally interesting than
any other at all events it has been the most studied, and

putting the question of art altogether on one side, it may

fairly, from the number of undoubted portraits, and from the
variety of great events recorded on it, be considered of the
highest historical importance and interest. Addison, in his
entertaining dialogues on coins, on which Pope wrote his well
known poem, callsthe Roman coinage a sort of "state
gazette," on which the truly great events of the empire
were periodically published; and when we find such an-
nouncements as Egypta Capta on coins of Augustus, struck
on the conquest of Egypt. Judea Capta on those of Vespasian,
issued when Judea was finally subjugated to the Roman
yoke; or Rex parthis datus" on the coins of Trajan, when
the Roman emperor gave a king to the Parthians, we must
allow the aptness of the term.
In addition to the vivid illustrations of history and general
civilisation which they
convey, the coins of Greece and
Rome form in themselves a complete history of art from ;

its earliest development to the

highest excellence it ever

attained in the greatest age of Grecian splendour: some

coins of that epoch presenting works unsurpassed in beauty
by sculpture on a larger scale. We
may trace on the Eoman
series the gradual decline of art with the decay of the empire,
until, with the complete prostration of Eoman power in the
west, art became nearly extinct to revive, after a dormant

period, in a totally new feeling, in the quaint but energetic

character known as Gothic, the development of which may
be traced in the coinage of modern Europe, from the fifth
to the fifteenth century.
The modern series, consists of Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-
Norman, and English coins, is perhaps more perfect and
complete than that of any other state, and exhibits every
stage of development from the rude Saxon penny of Ethelbert
to the great coinage of gold nobles in the flourishing part
of the reign of Edward the Third, as well as the links of all
subsequent progress. The eventful reign of Charles I. might
be exhibited very graphically in a small cabinet of his coins
the rude " siege pieces," struck without coining apparatus
in different parts of the kingdom whither fluctuating fortunes
drove the unfortunate prince, serving as monuments of
almost each disaster or temporary triumph among which, ;

not the least remarkable are the great twenty shilling pieces
of silver, coined at Oxford, from the plate given up by the
heads of colleges to be melted down and coined for the royal
cause; in which process perished some of the noblest
specimens of the exquisite skill of our early silversmiths and
goldsmiths, the loss of which will never cease to be regretted
by true lovers of art.
The great and various interest, and general attractiveness
of the study of ancient coins began to be perceived with the
revival of learning in the fifteenth century,* and small
collections were made at this early period the first on ;

record being that of the celebrated Petrarch, who eventually

presented it, with his remarkable letter, to the Emperor
of Grermany. "We next find Alphonso, King of Naples,
collecting ancient coins from all parts of Italy, which he

pretty good evidence that the Greeks and Romans
There is themselves
were in the habit of making collections of beautiful coins, with the same
feeling -which induced them to fill galleries with collections of statuary, brought
from all parts of Greece and Asia.

constantly carried about with him, in a richly carved casket

of ivory. The great Cosmo de' Medici perceived the interest
of these beautiful and important monuments of antiquity,
and commenced a cabinet which formed the nucleus of the
present magnificent Florentine collection. Matthias Cor-
vinus, King of Hungary, also formed a cabinet of medals

about that period. Francis the First of France, among his

other acts of munificence in the patronage of art, laid the
foundation of the great French collection, now the finest
in Europe, and likely to remain so, unless eventually sur-
passed by our own which in some departments, however,

can never hope to rival it, having come so lately into the
field. For it must be borne in mind that long after every
petty court in Europe possessed, in addition to its public
library, a cabinet of coins, we were without either and our

national collection of ancient money only dates as far back

as 1753, when the noble bequest of Sir Hans Sloane, of his
coins and other antiquities, formed its commencement. But
we were rich in private collections at a somewhat earlier
period, of which the number of specimens, then unique, pub-
lished in "Haym's British Treasury," is sufficient testimony.
The importance and interest of the study of coins, in a
national point of view, is now fully understood by all en-
lightened governments, and the extent of some of the public
collections established and maintained with this conviction
may be, I think, fitly glanced at here.
The Eussian collections, though of modern formation,
already contain some thousands of interesting coins. The
Madrid collection contains 2672 coins of gold, 30,692 of
silver, and 51,186 of copper. That of Vienna is much more
extensive; containing 24,112 Greek coins of all metals,
30,902 Eoman, and 38,000 of the middle ages. But that of
Paris surpasses all others in numbers, and in more than one
class, both the rarity and beauty of its specimens are un-

Having endeavoured briefly to show the interest coins

offer to private
study, and their advantages in a public light,
as being almost as important and instructive as a national
library, I shall at once commence a brief description of the
earliest Greek coins, and to other series in chrono-
logical order.




A METALLIC medium of exchange, passing by weight, was,

as we shall see, but the use
adopted at a very early period ;

of actual coins, passing by tale, that is to say by counting,

the weight and purity of each piece being guaranteed by
the government of a state by means of a public seal or
stamp of a sacred character, was a later invention. The im-
mense advantages of such a species of money in many of the
leading branches of human civilisation was soon universally
felt and its
; great value was so self-evident, that its origin
came to be invested with a mystic character, and was by
succeeding ages shrouded in fable Saturn, Mercury, and

other Divinities, having successively received the credit of

this important invention.
Like many other of the most useful inventions of man, the
precise date of the origin of coined money is lost in obscurity ;

nevertheless an approximation to it may be made with some

degree of certainty. Gold and silver were used as media of
exchange at a period long anterior to that when they appear
in the form of coin but as it is of positive coins only, a

modern term more immediately derived from the French

word coigner, to strike with a wedge or coigne, that I intend to
treat in this work, I must be exceedingly brief in alluding to
the sort of money that preceded them. Our earliest record of
primitive civilisation, the Bible, informs us that gold and silver
were used in lieu of direct barter as early as the time of
Shem, and we there learn that Abraham returned from Egypt
"very rich in cattle, silver, and gold." This was, according
to the commonly received computation, 1918 years before
the Christian era. Now great part of this silver and gold
might consist in rich drinking vessels, and in jewels, but

much no doubt was actual money, for it is shown by the

painted sculptures of Egypt still, in some cases, as fresh as
when they were executed, that silver and gold were known
to the Egyptians and in common use as circulating media.
This money was evidently in the form of rings,* as shown
in the sculpture-paintings, where figures are seen weighing
it, while others note down on a tablet the exact amount.
This sort of money, passing by weight, and not by tale, is
thus of a totally distinct character from corns. have a We
more positive notice of this kind of money, where Abraham
is stated to have given to Abimelech, King of Grera, one
thousand pieces of silver, evidently referring to money of
this description; and also in the purchase of the field of
Machpelah, when Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver
which he had named," four hundred shekels of silver
current money with the merchant. Thus we find that a
metallic currency was positively in existence at this early
period, and that the shekel was already established as a
national Jewish weight, though it was as yet unknown as a
coin. This shekel is, in the book of Job, called kesitah (a
lamb), the weight being possibly made in that form; as we see
them in that of sheep and other animals in the Egyptian
paintings, and they have been discovered in similar forms

* These
rings in the Egyptian paintings are merely painted as simple cir-
clets of metal, but apparently capable of being opened at one

side, so that they might be strung together in the form of a

chain A modern ring-money is still in circulation in some parts
of Northern Africa ; by Mr. Bonomi, it resembles
as described
the Celtic and Scandinavian ring-money of the middle ages,

Egyptian the idea of which was no doubt originally imported from the
Ring Money. East. Of such ring-money as was in circulation in the north
and west of Europe, about the time of the invasion of Caesar, and later,
the annexed woodcut will afford a good idea. It was usually made with
the ends flattened, where they were pressed together when used
to form a chain. Such rings are frequently found both in Eng-
land and Ireland, and of various sizes, both in gold and silver,
from the size of a finger-ring to that of a bracelet, and from
that of a bracelet to that of a torque, or collar, frequently worn
round the neck by northern races. It is not the intention in
a work devoted to the history of the origin and progressive
development of true coins, to speak at length of any sort of
money which preceded it ; but it may not be out of place to state here, en
passant, that ancient authors have alluded to leather money clay money
to shells used as money to iron money, &c., which will be referred to

incidentally as occasion occurs.


among the Assyrian remains recently brought to light.

The lamb may have been adopted to signify that that weight
of silver represented the value of a lamb, while other
weights possibly denoted by their form that they represented
the value of an ox. Certain it is that the transition from
simple barter to the use of a metallic media of exchange was
shown in some instances by figures of that description,
most remarkably perhaps, on the libra or pound weight of
the Romans, which was impressed with the image of an ox,
and other domestic animals, the termpecu (cattle), being the
origin of the Latin wordjwettnw (money), from which many
modern monetary terms are derived. The step from simple
barter to that of an inconvenient metallic currency passing
by weight, was an enormous one in the march of civilisation;
but that from a weighed currency to one formed of positive
coins which were received at once as of a certain value,
guaranteed, not by an individual, but by a state, with the
national signet stamped upon it to establish and denote that
value, was a yet greater step, and formed the basis of the
entire after- development of the commercial system.
When this great advance in monetary science was first
achieved is, as I have stated, a matter of some uncertainty ;

however data exist which bring its beginning within a very

moderate chronological circle, which I will refer to as briefly
as possible.
Coined money is not mentioned by Homer, which he most
certainly would not have omitted to notice had it then
existed, for his great poem is a sort of encyclopgedia of the
state of civilisation in his time and we find him, instead of

coined money, alluding to the circulating medium then in

use in Greece as of a much more primitive character as, ;

when he says that an ox was exchanged for a bar of brass

three feet long, and that a woman who understood several
useful arts was considered worth four oxen. Thus it ap-
pears that although metal was very early used as a medium
of exchange, it merely represented in a very direct manner
actual barter, till coin was invented.
Bars, or spikes, like the above-mentioned, form a sort of
transition stage, between the weighed money before referred
to and true coins, as such bars passed by tale rather than
by weight and I dwell upon them in this place more than

I otherwise should do, as from similar spikes or bars to

those mentioned by Homer originated the names of the two
principal Greek coins, the drachma and the obolus, the latter
name being formed of a Greek term signifying a spike or
small obelisk, and the former, a handful six being the
number of those spikes that could be grasped by an ordinary
hand (6 oboli going to the drachm) such was the origin of
the drachma and obolus which afterwards became coins,
which are known by the same names in Greece even at the
present day. They may be compared to our shillings and
pennies, though the drachma, according to the present value
of silver only represents 9|W., and the obolus \.^d. and one-
fifth of a farthing.
Herodotus tells us that the Lydians first coined gold, and
the "Parian Chronicle"* records that Phidon of Argos first
caused silver to be coined in'the island of jEgina; and as the
gold coinage of Asia Minor is generally believed to have
preceded the silver coinage of JEgina, or that of any other

part of Greece, I shall first treat of the earliest known gold

coins. These were doubtless adjusted to some well known
and generally acknowledged weight or standard, and so
received the name of stater, a Greek word signifying standard.
This standard appears to have been a weight corresponding
to two drachmae of silver, and of the value of twenty. Thus,
the Greeks t when they first established coins as a cir-
culating medium, perhaps two thousand five hundred years
ago, laid the foundation of the very forms, sizes, and divi-
sions, still found in all the various currencies of Europe even
to the present day, most strikingly perhaps in our own
the stater, drachma, and obolus, corresponding very nearly
to our sovereign, shilling, and penny.
It is a point in dispute, notwithstanding the assertion of
Herodotus, whether the Lydians or the newly formed Greek
colonies of Asia Minor, are best entitled to the merit of the
important invention of coined money or, indeed, whether

even the Persians may not rather be entitled to that honour ;

but by comparing the fabric of some of the earliest gold

* A
series of ancient inscriptions on marble, now at Oxford, probably in-
scribed in the second century, B.C.
f* The Lydians were of the same race as the Greeks, both being of Pelasgic

pieces in existence, those various claims may be better

understood, though possibly never finally adjusted.
By a very high authority, an Ionian coin of the city of
Miletus, now in the British Museum (Plate I, No. 1), has
been considered to exhibit marks of more ancient fabric than
any coin hitherto discovered ; it will, therefore, be well to
examine it first.
The Ionian coloniesin Asia Minor were founded by Greeks
from the Peloponnesus, about the eleventh century before the
Christian era and the city of Miletus was taken from the

Carians, who were, like the Greeks themselves, of Pelasgic

origin, and spoke a language derived from the same source,
but which was much ridiculed by the hellenic Greeks on
account of its corruptness. Some considerable period evi-
dently elapsed after these Ionian Greeks established them-
selves in Asia before they coined money the date of that;

invention being conjectured, with some certainty, to lie in

the seventh and eighth century before the Christian era.
Homer's silence on the subject, as before alluded to, making
it more than probable that it did not exist before the last
mentioned period, while frequent mention of it, and even
laws upon the subject,* soon after the first mentioned date,
prove that, at that time, it must have been widely established,
so that the earliest of the gold coins about to be described
may have possibly been struck as early as 800 B.C.
No. 1, Plate I. The Primitive Coin of Miletus in Ionia.
This coin undoubtedly belongs to the first period of coinage,
as it has all the characters of the earliest of those curious
monuments that have come down to us namely, a very
rude impression on one side, and on the other merely the
indent formed by the punch used to drive the metal into
the die or mould containing the engraved design. The
piece of metal destined to be thus coined by these primi-
tive moneyers was nearly globular, a
tendency to which form
the coins of this first period of the art still retained, even
after the flattening process of hammering them into the
die. The type of this Ionian coin is a lion's head, a symbol
sacred also among the Persians and Assyrians, as an emblem

* Those of
Solon, issued probably about 583 B.C., containing severe edicts
against forgers of public money.

of strength, nobleness and royalty, and frequently associated

by the Greeks with some of their mythologic legends
especially in the worship of Cybele. The art displayed in
this lion's head is of most primitive character, and the

punch-mark at the back of great rudeness.

As Herodotus states that the Lydians were the first to
coin gold, I will next describe a coin assigned by numis-
matists to that people. The Lydians, originally of the same
Pelasgic race as the Greeks, had, like the Carians, attained
to a considerable degree of civilisation before the arrival of
the Greek colonists in Asia Minor, while their princes were
of Grecian race, being descended from the Peloponnesian
Heraclidae. Long after the arrival of the Greek colonists,
the Lydians continued to increase in power and civilisation
under the dominion of this race of princes, the last of the
direct line being the well known Candaules, who was assas-
sinated and succeeded by Gyges. This prince, though of
another branch, termed the Mermnadae, was also a lateral
descendant of the Heraclidse he nourished between 755 and

700 B.C., and to him or his immediate successors the earliest

gold coinage of Lydia may possibly be attributed: at all
events, he is well known as a protector of the arts, and is
stated to have sent six gold cups to the temple of Delphi,
weighing thirty talents, but which were yet more precious
on account of their beautiful workmanship."
No. 2, Plate I., is conjectured to be of the earliest gold
coinage of Lydia first, because of its peculiar fabric, which,

as described in the coin No. 1, is of primitive character, with

an impression on one side only, and on the other a deep and
rough indent and secondly, because coins of this description

are found most abundantly about the ruins of Sardis, the

ancient capital of Lydia which is a still stronger argument
in favour of the attribution. They have been supposed by
some to be the coins of the celebrated Croesus, a successor
of Gyges, but the general character of the art of coining
had made considerable progress at that time, and assumed
a somewhat different character, making it probable that these
coins belong to a period as early as the one suggested.* The

It must be admitted, however, that the art displayed in the bull's head,
and that of the lion, is not very archaic and, notwithstanding the rudeness of

the indent at the back, these coins may be of the age of Cioesus.

type of the bull and lion would appear to have been derived
from Persia or Assyria, where the triumph of the lion over
the bull symbolises the triumph of royal force over external
or domestic enemies a myth long afterwards illustrated in
the public games of Persia, where the combat of a lion and
bull formed the principal feature of the entertainments in
the arena, and where the lion was always made to prevail,
even by stratagem, if that became necessary. There was
also another and more latent meaning in this antique myth,
which has only recently been explained namely, that the
lion represented heat, or the sun, and the bull, water or
humidity;* the combat representing the victory of the sun
over the unwholesome vapours of the earth. This was also
part of the creed of the Fire-worshippers. The idea that
art and civilisation flowed originally from Central Asia
appears borne out by these facts, and also by others, which
I shall have occasion to allude to in describing early coins,
especially those of Acanthus, on which this same symbol of
the lion overcoming the bull afterwards appeared.
These coins of Sardis were supposed by Sestini to belong
to the island of Samos, probably because Herodotus has
mentioned the gold money of Poly crates and also on account

of a rare coin of the same type having an S (2) on the

obverse, which, however, suits equally to Sardis, where most
of the coins are found.
No. 3, Plate I., is another coin of the same primitive
character of workmanship, which may be assigned to the same
place it is from the royal collection of Munich, and engraved

by Sestini. I have given a figure of it here as further illus-

trating the Persian or Assyrian origin of some of the types
of these early coins of Asia Minor the fore portions of two

bulls, joined at the centre of the body, being the design of the
capitals of the columns in the principal ruin of Persepolis,
as described by M. Flandin, which strikingly resemble the
lion and bull of this coin joined in a similar manner.
Nos. 4 and 5, Plate I. Of the gold staters of this early
period there are also divisions, such as the Jiemistater or
half stater, the distater or double stater and also the quarter

* A bull was by the Greeks made the symbol of a river. See chapters on
Greek types, and on the Greek coins of the finest epoch, especially a coin of

and small subdivisions, such as sixths, eighths, &c., similar

to these small Sardian pieces. No 4 has the bull only for
type, and the 2 or S which caused Sestini to attribute these
coins to Samos.
No. 5, Plate I., is of similar fabric and weight to the
coins above described, and is one of the darics, or Persian
staters of Darius Hystaspes, who finally subdued the Greek
colonies about 520, B.C. Mionnet appears to think them of
higher antiquity than any other coins, but the opinion at
present received is that they were struck by the Persians
for the use of the Grecian provinces of Asia, when they
fell under Persian dominion, and that the Persians were
not the inventors of a coinage, nor did they even then
adopt that kind of circulating medium, but only coined for
the conquered Greeks the sort of money that they were
accustomed to, placing upon it, however, the royal symbol
of Persia, the crowned archer. This is a very plausible
theory, and very satisfactory to all who wish to favour
the Greek claim to the invention of the art of coining
money. But on the other side, the exceedingly rude style
of the reverse of these coins would seem to place their
production at an earlier period than the Persian conquest,
if not earlier than that of
any of the coins I have previously
described, for the punch mark is still more rude and shape-
less. This is accounted for by the advocates for the Greeks
as the result of the rude art of the barbarian Persians but ;

if other facts hereafter to be discovered, should

give to the
Persians the honour of inventing coined money, it will be one
of the many striking proofs of the origin of all civilisation
in central Asia, and its general course westward.* Though
only gold darics are mentioned by ancient authors, silver
darics exist, as well as silver coins of Sardis, exactly like
the staters, which I shall mention in treating of the earliest
coinage of silver. These primitive Asiatic silver coins were
at first, as Sestini states, also called staters, but that name
became eventually more especially confined to the gold.f
No. 6, Plate I., (the next specimen) is a double stater of

* The Persian gold coinage, originating in tbe darics, continued till the con-
quests of Alexander ; and those of the later period have devices ou both sides,
some having a combat of a lion and bull, over a castle.
+ The term " stater," as applied to silver, eventually signified a tetra-
drachm, or piece of four drachmae.

Phocea in Ionia, now in the royal cabinet of Munich, richer

perhaps in early Greek gold than any other collection. The
staters of the Phoceans are mentioned by ancient authors
as in general circulation, but Eckhel, at the time he com-
posed his great work, had not seen any coin he could assign
to that state, and it remained for Sestini, in examining
the rich collection of Munich, to describe and assign its true
position to the curious and interesting coin of which I am
now speaking. It is a double stater, and bears for type a
seal, the Greek name of which, &a>xr] (Phoke), is said to have
given its name to the city, as I stated in my introduction,
in consequence of the ship which brought the first colonists
from Greece having been followed by a shoal of these ani-
mals, which was considered a good omen.* Types of this
description are called by numismatists speaking types, that
is, images which express the name of the state or city such ;

as a rose on the coins of Rhodes, the name of the rose being

po'Soj/ (rodon), the pomegranate, 0-1817 (side), on those of
Side, &c. such types, however, are not mere puns upon the

name, as some have supposed, but religious symbols, or

images of objects, rendered sacred in most cases by some
circumstances in connexion with the foundation of the state,
and its name, and which became in consequence, objects of
sacrifice periodically offered at the altar of the tutelary,

deity. In addition to the figure of the seal on this in-

teresting coin, the first letter or character of the name of
the city, $ (PH.), appears, a custom t which afterwards
became universal on Greek coins, and affords conclusive
evidence that the attribution of this coin to Phocea is
correct. The back is very rude, and shows that the coin is
of the very earliest class.
Though the seal or pJioke is the general type of the early
coins of the Phoceans, they occasionally adopted others, as
the lion, and the ram, more especially, which were symbols
connected with the sacrificial rites of the public faith but ;

these symbols were most frequently accompanied by the

* It must be remembered, however, that these Phoceans were from the

state of Phocis, in Greece, and, of course, bore that name long before the
settlement of their colony in Asia.
f The second and third letters were gradually added to prevent confusion
between the names of states beginning with the same letter, and in some cases
the full name occurs.

original type, as in the quarter stater, (Plate I, No. 14,)

where a small but distinct figure of a seal is seen. The back
of this coin is incused with a rudely executed impression
of a lion's head, with the mouth open. This incused im-
pression on the back of the coin, produced from a relief on
the punch by which the metal was struck into the principal
die, would appear to be a mode of striking coins nearly as
ancient as the rough square indent a fact I shall allude to

again in describing the early coins of Magna Grsecia.

On later coins of Phocea the Dioscuri appear, under
whose protection the Phoceans are said to have been the
first to perform long sea voyages founding Marseilles at a

very early period, and other colonies in Italy and on the

coast of Spain. The heads of Pallas and Mercury are also
found on coins of this people such coins being found to

belong to them by comparison with coins of a later period,

bearing in addition to such types the name, abbreviated or
in full, of the state. It is by comparison of such more
recent coins with the earlier ones that many coins long con-
sidered of uncertain origin have been assigned to their true
No. 7, Plate I. There are gold coins of Teos of an an-
tiquity possibly as remote, judging from the workmanship,
as any of the preceding, and what is very interesting, on
one the most rude, the coin under description, the name of
the state appears in full, written in the ancient manner,
T1OM for TIO2. This position of the sigma (2) denotes great
antiquity I for E is evidence that the name was anciently

written Tios. This coin has determined the attribution of

several others to Teos, having for type the griphoii's head
only, which had been previously assigned to Phocea and other
places, the more customary type of Teos being an entire
sitting figure of a winged griffin similar to that of Abdera,
which latter M. Cadalvene says may be distinguished from
that of Teos by having pointed wings, while those of the
griffin of Teos are rounded
at the ends.*
No. 8, Plate I. There are staters of Lampsacus of nearly as
ancient fabric as any coins yet described. According to Pom-
ponius Mela, the city of Lampsacus, in Mysia, was founded
by the Phoceans, and was afterwards one of the towns
* See
plate of earliest silver coins, for the coin of Abdera.

assigned by Xerxes to Themistocles as an appanage. The

name is said to be derived from Aa/ttTra
(lampa, a shining
light), the Phocean emigrants having determined to plant
the new colony where they first beheld a shining light.
Situated in a position to command all the advantages of a
great maritime commerce, the people of this state adopted
the winged sea-horse as their monetary type, in allusion to the
fleetness of their vessels; above the horse is a small object which
Sestini describes as a flower, but which may be a star, perhaps
in allusion to the one which, shining with unusual brightness
at the period of emigration, determined the site of the new
city. Later coins of the Lampsaceans have a head of Nep-
tune, wearing the pileum or cap of liberty wreathed with
laurel, which would scarcely have been attributed to this
place but for examples of a later period, in which the head
in question is accompanied on the reverse by the well-known
type of the winged sea-horse peculiar to Lampsacus.
No. 9, Plate I. is a double stater of Cyzicus, a colony of
Miletus, which received its name from its founder and first
king. Its gold staters were, perhaps, more celebrated
than any other gold coin of the Greeks, and after those
of many other places ceased to be struck, either through
the subjugation or destruction of the cities or states, or from
other causes, the mint of Cyzicus continued in activity not
only throughout the whole period of Grecian greatness, but
during the Eoman domination, even down to the reign of Jus-
tinian, which, counting from the fall of the Western Empire,
brings these coins into modern history. It is conjectured that
the earliest gold coin of modern Venice was imitated from
them, and that the name of the sequin, the zecca and zechino
of Venice, is but a corruption of the name of these ancient
coins, which were termed Cyzicenes.
"We learn from a passage of Demosthenes that the stater
of Cyzicus was of greater weight than that of other
cities, and passed for twenty-eight drachmae of Athens,
instead of twenty. The gold double stater under descrip-
tion is attributed by Sestini to Cyzicus, on account of its
weight agreeing with this extra standard, and because the
lion, with the secondary type of a fish, was a type of the
later coinage of this state, founded doubtless on the earlier
ones. The reverse is extremely rude.

No. 15, PlateI, is a half stater of Cyzicus. The well-

known type of the later coins of Cyzicus, the lion's head
accompanied by a fish, is also found on half staters of the
standard of Cyzicus, but more generally without the fish,
showing that the lion's head alone was the simple original
symbol adopted for the coins of this state. The weight and
fabric of this very early half stater, are amply sufficient to
prove its attribution to Cyzicus to be correct; in further
proof of which one very similar may be cited, engraved by
Sestini, having the inscription in extremely ancient characters,
KIZTKE (Kizyke or Cizyce). Proserpine appears on the
later coinage of Cyzicus with the title of Saviour (soter).
It is thought that the veiled head on some coins of this
state is that of Cybele, to whom the Argonauts when
detained in Cyzicus, erected a statue on the neighbouring
mountain, which, as related by Zosimus, was eventually
removed to Constantinople by Constantine. The first king,
Cyzicus, was destroyed by Cybele in consequence, as the
fable states, of his having killed one of the lions belonging
to her chariot, and from this circumstance and others con-
nected with it, the lion's head was probably adopted as
the type of the first national coinage.
No. 10, PI. I. Colophon, in Ionia, furnishes our next
example of the antique and primitive gold money we have been
considering; the piece is of very early date, and assigned to this
city on good grounds. Pliny relates that the Colophonians an-
ciently trained dogs to assist in war, and that dogs were kept
on the rock or fortress of the place to watch and give warning
of the approach of an enemy. This statement would, of
itself, be sufficient to account for the attribution of this coin
to Colophon, even were it not, as it is, borne out by the fact
that another similar coin bears the inscription KoXo (Kolo),the
commencement of the name of the state. The dog, in this
specimen stands upon a fish, and appears to be of the
mastiff breed, that most likely to be trained with success for
the purposes mentioned by Pliny. The back has a punch-
mark in four rough compartments.
No. 11, PL I. The coins of the Ionian island of Chios are
very numerous, commencing with the earliest periods of
the art and continuing till a very late epoch. They afford,
perhaps, better than any other Greek series the means of

exhibiting, in the coinage of a single state, its progress from

primitive rudeness to perfection, and its subsequent
dence. The principal type of the early coinage of the Chians
is the griffon, differing but slightly from that of Abdera.
The gold coin, under description, is of this early period, and
ismost probably a double stater.
No. 12, PI. I., is of a somewhat different style of fabric,
but judging from the rudeness and barbarism of the work-
manship it belongs also to the earliest period. It is sup-
posed to belong to the Trojan city of Abydos, and the head,
or rather face, may be that of Apollo, whose worship, as
well as that of Diana, was greatly cultivated in that city its
temple of Diana being one of the most celebrated in Asia,
after that of Bphesus. Coins of Abydos of a later period bear
on the reverse a head with streaming hair, supposed to be
that of Leander in the act of swimming in allusion to the

celebrated fable of Hero and Leander.

No. 13, PL I. I shall have occasion again to refer to the
gold coins of Clazomene, in treating of this branch of art, in
its finest period, as they are among its most exquisite pro-
ductions. In this place I shall only notice the coins of
the earliest epoch, of which Clazomene furnishes many,
which, if not of equal antiquity with those attributed to
Sardis, Miletus, &c. belong yet to an epoch little more
recent. The present coin is a gold hemistater, having the
well-known Clazomenean type of the winged boar on the
obverse, and on the reverse an incused or sunk impression
of a lion's head a style of reverse nearly as ancient as the
rough punch-mark without design. The type of the winged
boar was adopted in accordance with the Clazomenian legend,
related by JElian, that the neighbourhood of the city was
long infested by a monster of that description, which com-
mitted great devastation.
From a careful examination of the coins of Plate I, imd
their descriptions in this chapter, the student may be
enabled to form a very accurate notion of the style and
mode of the earliest known coinage. These coins exhibit
different degrees of rudeness those of Lampsacus, Colo-

phon, and Cyzicus, judging from the greater regularity

of the punch-mark, being more recent than many of the
others. That of Teos, on the contrary, with a single small,


and deep indent on the reverse, and that of Phocea, of

very similar fabric, appear fully as ancient in their general
character as those of Sardis, Miletus, and the Darics ;

but it must be borne in mind that the greatest rudeness

of fabric does not always, of necessity, indicate the greatest
antiquity, as it may have occurred in consequence of the
greater degree of barbarism of states issuing them, some
coins of the islands, for instance, being excessively rude
imitations of the coins of the neighbouring continent, at
a time when the latter had made considerable progress.
Another fact must also be borne in mind, as of impor-
tance in determining the relative antiquity of coins, which
is, that some states, the purity and sterling quality of
whose early coins became celebrated, continued to coin after
the primitive manner, lest any change in the appearance of
the money should cause its depreciation, or induce strangers
to doubt its genuineness. Such was the case with the
./Eginetans, who continued to coin in the ancient form to
the end of their independence but, though the old forms

are still preserved, a gradually increasing neatness and per-

fection of workmanship may be traced. Notwithstanding
these difficulties, I think it may be fairly assumed, and the
more so as the assumption is backed by the statements of
ancient authors, that the coins attributed to Sardis belong
to the earliest period of art, and thus corroborate the evidence
of Herodotus, when he states that the Lydians were the
first to coin gold and silver money. The coin of Miletus,
No. 1, also bears incontestible marks of the highest antiquity,
and may possibly have even preceded the Lydian issue but ;

Miletiau coins having been produced in comparatively small

numbers may not have become at once celebrated like a pro-
fuse issue of the richer Lydians, and consequently not have
been noticed by historians. It also seems probable, from
the preceding observations, that if the darics were not coined
till the
subjugation of the Greek colonies by the Persians,
about 554 B.C., they must have been imitations in style
of much earlier works otherwise we may suppose that

the Greeks, or more especially the Lydians, whose

tion immediately preceded that of the Greeks, had preserved
the exact modes and types of their first coinage, and that
Cro3sus continued to strike gold coins at the moment of his
F TME m\

overthrow, precisely after the manner of the earliest issues,

while his immense wealth enabled him to coin vast num-
bers of gold staters. The Persians, it may be, coined the
darics for circulation in Asia Minor, exactly after the fashion
of the Croesian staters, the repute of which made them
current in all the then civilised world, which may also
account for the primitive style of the reverse of the darics,
without assigning to them the same high antiquity as to the
earliest Greek and Lydian coins. This is, of course, mere
conjecture, but it reconciles the difficulty concerning the
darics, which, though all precisely of the same character,
doubtless belong to several successive epochs.* It would
also account for the fine style of the heads of the bull and
lion on the Sardian coins, which forms a strange contrast to
the excessively rude and formless indent of the punch-mark of
the reverse, and is exactly similar to that of the darics. This
might be further elucidated by a careful examination of all
the known Sardian coins, in which, possibly, progressive
degrees of excellence in the execution of the types might be
discovered, though the rude style of the back was scrupulously
preserved, as an original and long venerated characteristic.




THE Parian Chronicle, as stated in the previous chapter, re-

cords that Phidon, King of Argos, first employed the people
of JEgina to coin silver money. This is conjectured to have
taken place in the eighth century before the Christian era.
In corroboration ofthis statement, we find that the coins of
the island of JEgina present characteristics of the most
ancient period of coinage in Greece or the neighbouring
islands. They are easily recognised by the tortoise, which is
their invariable
type, the later examples having, in addition,

* For later Persian coins see

note, page 14.

the initial letter, A, and in some cases the greater part of

the name of the island. It was, till recently, thought that
the coins with the type of the tortoise were the coins struck
by those islanders for Phidon, the Argive prince, but the
remarks contained in an interesting article on the subject
by Mr. Borrel, inevitably lead to the supposition that such
was not the case, but that these coins were the money of
the ^Eginetans themselves, while those of similar fabric
bearing the dolphin for type (No. 4, Plate II.,) which will
be described in their place, may possibly be the coins struck
by them for the prince of Argos.
The earliest coins of -ZEgina are probably of somewhat
earlier date than those supposed to be struck for Phidon, as
we may be allowed to infer from the inscription of the
Parian Chronicle, that Phidon found the islanders already
in possession of the art of coining money, and was the first
prince of the continental Greek states who took advantage
of the important discovery. The ./Egiiietans themselves, a
maritime and enterprising race, had probably received the
art from the Lydians in their commercial dealings with the
Greek states of Asia Minor the nature of whose gold

coins has been discussed in Chap. II.

No. 1, Plate II., is the earliest known form of the ./Egi-
netan coinage. The tortoise is rudely but boldly formed,
with the simplicity yet grandeur of conception of the early
Greek artists; while the back has four deep triangular indents
of the most primitive character.
No. 2, Plate II., exhibits the next step in advance the ;

turtle or tortoise is enriched with a row of knobs along the

back, and is better executed while the back has more the

character of the earliest Asiatic gold.

No. 3 shows an entirely new and more finished treatment
of the tortoise which some authors have considered to be

the land tortoise, at that time substituted for turtle. But

Pausanias states that the land and sea tortoises are perfectly
similar in that region
only differing in the formation of

the feet. The coin, No. 3, has, in addition to the type, the
initial letter A, and the punch-mark on the reverse is much

* The Parian marble

gives a date, which accords with 895 B.C., but Grote,
Clinton, Bockh, and Muller, give the dates between 783 or 770, and 744 or
730 B.C.

more symmetrical. Late examples have the letters Air,

and some few the name in full, while one or more of the
compartments on the reverse are ornamented with a neatly
executed dolphin but these belong to a later period of the
art, which this not the place to dilate upon.
The money of the ^Eginetans, from its weight and purity,
soon obtained a very general circulation, forming nearly the
only circulating medium of the Peloponnesus, the pieces being
called tortoises (^eXcovai), from their type. The tortoise was
sacred to Mercury, to whom the ancients attributed the
invention of weights and measures, and also money; and these
islanders, in adopting it as their type, testified their devo-
tion to the god of commerce and industry. From the great
faith with which the coins of this small state were received,
wherever they were known, it is supposed that it was not
thought advisable to change their type or form, so that in
the latest coinage of .ZEgina much of the early form and
character was kept up, after great improvements had been
made in the coinage of other states.
No. 4, Plate III., is a coin bearing all the characters of
JSginetan fabric and standard, accompanied by types which
render it extremely probable that it is one of those struck by
this people for Phidon, King of Argos.* It is well known
that the dolphins were an early symbol of the coinage of Argos,
and, though abandoned for a time, were afterwards resumed ;

and they appear upon later and well known coins of that state,
accompanied by the wolf and other national devices, and also
by the head of Juno, whose temple at Argos is described by
Pausanias, in speaking of the statue by Polycletes in gold
and ivory, which was executed for that shrine.
No. 5, PL III., is a rude coin of the ^Eginetan standard,
but possibly executed in some more remote island, where
the standard of ^Egina had been adopted through com-
mercial intercourse, but where a national symbol was
adopted in preference. It greatly resembles in fabric some
rude coins of Thasus. Pellerin mentions several imitations,
not only of standard, but also of form and type, which have
led some to assign them to the state whose types are thus
imitated a very high antiquity being assigned to such
coins, to account for their excessive rudeness of execution.

Herod., lib. vi. c. 127.

No. PI. II., is a coin of more genuine aspect, still

"belonging to the same style of fabrication as those of ^Igina.
It is assigned, by M. Cadalvene, to Coressus, and apparently on
good ground, the initials of the name ? accompanying the
type. These letters are of very ancient form, the Phoenician
koph 9 being used instead of *, which has also been observed
on the most ancient coins of Corinth. The types are a cuttle-
fish and another small fish, the species of which is doubtful.
The cuttle-fish alludes to the worship of Neptune, a deity
much venerated by the Coressians as the protector of their
island,which was more anciently known asHidrussa (YSpvo-cra),
a place abounding in springs.
No. 7, Plate XI., is a coin of early fabric, attributed to
Teos, in Ionia. "We are informed by Herodotus that the
Teians, dreading the encroachments of the Persians in Ionia,
abandoned their city, and founded Abdera, in Thrace. The
coinage of the latter place bears the same type, the griffon, as
that of the parent city, but with a slight difference in treat-
ment, as remarked by an eminent numismatist, which may
enable the collector to assign the proper coins to their
respective localities. This distinction consists in the form
of the wings of the griffon, which are pointed on the coins of
Abdera (see No. 1, PI. IV.), while on those of Teos they are
rounded, as shown in the present example. The griffon was
sacred to Apollo, to whom an especial worship w as devoted r

in most of the Ionian cities, but more particularly in Teos.

No. 8, Plate XI., is a very remarkable coin. The greatest
Grecian name, that of Athens, does not hold the rank in
monetary art* that might be expected from its pre-eminence
in general civilisation and refinement. The earliest Athenian
coins commonly known
belong to an epoch much later than
the one I am now treating of; this rare coin, however, belongs
to the earliest period of the art, and is evidence that,
the Athenians may have coined but in small quantities,f
yet that native money was evidently struck very soon after
the early coinage of ^Egina. This coin bears the well known

The coinage of Athens however, though not ranking high in point of
held the highest rank for purity and weight, and
art, eventually circulated more
widely than that of any other Grecian state.
f The money of their close neighbours, the .ffiginetans, whose island Pericles
called the eyesore of the Piraeus,
being, perhaps, found, at that time, sufficient
for the public

Athenian symbol, the owl, sacred to the tutelary deity,

Minerva, whose Greek name, Athena, became that of the
city it appears to belong to a period corresponding to the

second stage of the coinage of JEgina, the same knob-like

style of ornament being adopted on the breast of the owl
as on the back of the tortoise (No. 2).
No. 9, Plate II., is an extremely early coin of Bceotia,
bearing the well-known type of thd buckler, which was never
abandoned on the coins of this district up to the latest
period. Some have imagined that this type was a perverted
copy of the Egyptian scarabei, which they supposed to be
akmd of stone money among the Egyptians. The Ephesian
bee, and even the early Corinthian pegasus, have both been
supposed to have the same origin but the hypothesis is not

received by sound numismatists. It is thought by others

that the shield, or buckler type of the Boeotians, originated
in the celebrity of this race in the manufacture of armour,
Homer praising the shield of Ajax as having been made in
the town of Hyle, in Bceotia. But its adoption had proba-
bly a more intimately religious origin, all Grecian types being
originally symbols sacred in some way to tutelar deities.
No. 10, Plate XI., is a coin of Lete, in Macedonia, and is
an example of the free manner in which early Greek artists
occasionally treated mythological subjects on the public
coinage. Pan and Silenus were greatly venerated at
Lete and it is possibly Pan carrying off the nymph who

became the mother of Silenus, that is represented on this

rude and extremely ancient coin, which belongs to almost
the earliest numismatic period, as will be seen on examining
the reverse.
No. 11, Plate XI., is a coin of Dyracchium (a small city
on the coast of Illyria) it evidently belongs to the early

period of coinage of which I am treating, and tends to show

how rapidly this important art spread among the states of
Greece, and even the neighbouring and far less civilised
countries. The type on the principal side is a cow suckling
a calf a similar
type to that found on a most ancient gold
stater of
apparently Asiatic workmanship, which Sestini
assigns to Cyzicus, concluding that it alluded to the fertility
of the soil such, however, could
; hardly be the case in the
sterile mountainous
country of Illyria.

No. 12, Plate II. These coins are only found in the Island
of Ceos, which, with most of the Cyclades, received Athenian
colonies at an early period. The vase is supposed to allude
to the purifications and ablutions used in the initiation to
the mysteries of Bacchus, the deity chiefly worshipped in
that island.
No. 13, Plate II., is a hemidrachm, or half-drachma, of
about the same period as the earliest coins of JEgina and, ;

from the type of the lion, has been assigned to Cyzicus. The
style of the lion might, indeed, lead to the supposition
of its
being a Lydian coin, struck at Sardis but the configuration

of the punch-marks of the reverse differ from the more

shapeless Lydian reverses.
No. 14, Plate II., is a half-drachma, assigned by Mionnet to
Abydos and the later coins of this city, on which similar

types are accompanied by the name or initials of the city,

seem to prove the conjecture to be well-founded. The fabric
of the coin denotes high antiquity and the maritime position

of this celebrated city, well known to have enjoyed great

commercial prosperity at a very early period, is sufficient to
account for being one of the earliest seats of coinage.
founded on the well-known legend
Its poetical celebrity,
of Hero and Leander, is supposed to be commemorated on
some of its coins of a later period, on which is a head
with long streaming locks, supposed to be that of Leander
in the act of swimming the "ocean stream in the night,
guided by the beacon-lamp in the tower of Hero.*
No. 15, Plate II., is a rare silver coin, now in the famous
Hunterian collection at Glasgow, where, with many other
treasures of antiquity, it remains buried within rusty locks
and bolts. It has been assigned to Samos, by Sestini but, ;

as that learned numismatist made several errors in his

attributions to that locality, this
may be one of them.
It is
my present purpose that it is a genuine
enough for
silver coin ofthe highest antiquity, of grand, though rude,
design and execution; and serves well to complete the
series of examples which I have
thought it necessary to
give of the earliest known silver coinages.f After the

Mentioned also in Chapter II., on the earliest gold coinage, p. 19.
f I have thought it more advisable to make two distinct chapters on the

perusal of this series of descriptions, it will be well to refer

again to the whole of the examples in PL II., by a care-
ful examination of which, the general character and local
varieties of the silver coinage will be pretty well appreciated.
It will be seen that during this epoch no attempt whatever
was made to produce an ornamental impression on the reverse,
which is invariably occupied by the cavity produced by the
punch or wedge, struck by the hammer, in the act of pro-
ducing the coin. The idea of making the punch itself the
vehicle of an ornamental design, as well as the die, marks
another epoch in the art, and will be treated of in its proper
In the meantime, I shall proceed to describe a different
style of manufacture, which prevailed in the Greek colonies
of southern Italy, at an epoch nearly coeval with the issue
of the earliest coins above enumerated which, with other
modes of fabric, will form the subject of the next chapter.




IT has been shown in the preceding chapters, that the

original mode of coining money was by striking a piece of
metal into a mould or die, by means of a wedge or punch,
until the piece of metal was sufficiently driven into the
mould to receive a perfect impression. The money thus
produced had, of course, one perfect side that driven into
the die, the other being marked with the deep, and, at first,

earliest gold, and the earliest silver, giving the former to Asia, and the latter
to Europe, though in of character of workmanship, it is pretty
point primitive
evident that the gold coining states of Asia issued silver also, as may be seen by
the specimens in this plate, Nos. 13, 14, and 15; while the silver staters of
Sardis and the silver darics are also not to be overlooked.

irregular indent of the punch. This process was gradually

improved by making the punch more regular in form, the
mode of doing which varied in different states, as will be
exhibited in the following series of examples.
No. 1, Plate III., is a silver coin of Chalcedon, in Bithynia,
the reverse of which has the impress of the punch, fashioned
somewhat after the shape of the sails of a windmill. This
form of reverse is what French numismatists term " en ailes
de moulin." The obverse of this coin has one of the usual
types of the place; a bull, with the letters KAAX (KALCH),
the first four of KAAXHAONIHN (KALCHEDONION), of the
Chalcedonians, found in full on later coins.
No. 3, Plate III., is a very ancient coin of Corinth; showing
an unusual form of punch-mark, forming the figure known
in Greek ornament as the "key pattern." The Pegasus on
the obverse, which is of a ru'de archaic style of art, was
adopted as the leading type of Corinthian money, in celebra-
tion of its subjection by the hero Bellerophon, an early
chief of the Corinthians.
On late Corinthian coins, when both sides became per-
fect, the head of Minerva appears on the reverse. This
divinity is stated to have been the protectress of Bellerophon,
who was by her assistance enabled to possess himself of the
winged horse, and to achieve his famous exploit against the
monster Chimsera; a corresponding fable to that of the
Athenian Theseus and the Minotaur, which however finds
no similar record on the money of Athens. At Corinth
there was a temple erected to A^mxaXu/ms (Minerva
the Bridler,) in allusion to that part of the myth which
describes Minerva as instructing Bellerophon in the mode
of placing the bridle on the winged steed. Pindar grandly
describes this feat of Bellerophon.*
The Corinthians, as is well known, founded the colony of
Syracuse, in Sicily ;
and among the earliest money of that
nourishing colony we find the following example :

No. 4, Plate III., is a coin of Syracuse, which exhibits

the same pattern of punch-mark as that of the curious coin
of the parent city, just described. The obverse of this coin
has the head of Jupiter, behind which is the thunderbolt ;
and in front, the letters 2TP (SYR). This early Syracusan

* 01. xiii 89.


coin, though apparently of nearly the same period, is already

an improvement upon its Corinthian prototype and is an

evidence of the great progress in art, which the Greek

colonies in Italy and Sicily so rapidly made, especially in
the fabrication of the public money, in which, in high finish
and intricate elaboration, they eventually surpassed the
Greeks themselves.
Later coins of Syracuse, struck by the Syracusans, with
the Corinthian types of the Pegasus, and the head of
Minerva, in honour of the successes of Timoleon, when sent
to their assistance from Corinth, are farther and more
striking proofs of the superiority of Sicilian art ;
Pegasus being more highly finished, and the head of
Minerva, though of similar design, being strikingly superior,
in every respect, to Corinthian coins of the same period.
No. 2, Plate III., is a very early coin of Selinus, a town on
the south coast of Sicily, whose ruins are still one of the
greatest wonders of the island ; some of the columns of the
principal temple being of greater diameter than those of any
ancient edifice known, except those of Egypt. Selinus, it is
conjectured, took its name from the stream on which it was
built a common practice among the Greeks of Sicily and
Magna Graecia the stream itself having received its name
from the abundance of wild parsley in Greek, SHAINON
(Selinon) growing on its banks. This herb became,probably,
sacred to the presiding nymph, and so, as a sacred symbol,
was adopted as the principal type of the coinage of this city.
I have introduced it here in order to exhibit another variety
of form in the punch-mark of the reverse, which appears to
be a sort of approach, in concave, to the form of the
design of the obverse and so forms a link between the

shapeless punch-mark, and the incused coins I am about to

speak of.
In a former chapter I have described a few rare instances
in which very early coins of some of the Greek colonies of Asia
Minor, have a punch-mark forming a distinct design and, ;

to a certain extent, a perfect reverse the design being in


concave, or incused, as numismatists express it. These sunk

designs, were, of course, in relief on the punch with the

intention, no doubt, of increasing the power of that instru-

ment to drive the piece of metal about to be coined, well into


the mould. One of the mostancient examples that can be

cited, of this mode of coinage,
is, possibly, the half stater of

Clazomene, Plate I., No. 13, which, while it has the usual
type of that place, the winged boar, in relief on the principal
side (see Chap. II.), has on the reverse a rude lion's head,
incused, or sunk.


I have here to describe several examples of a perfected

system of the incused method, which it appears some of the
Greek colonies in Magna Greaecia adopted even in their
earliest coinages. And not only did they thus depart from
the more usual practice of the parent states in coining their
money, as regards the treatment of the punch, but the whole
system appears to have undergone reformation the pieces

produced being no longer thick and hemispherically raised

towards the centre, like the older coins of the Greeks of the
Peloponnesus, Asia Minor, and the Greek islands but very

thin and flat, the pieces of two drachms being larger in sur-
face than four drachm pieces of the parent states.
This Magna Graecian incused coinage belongs to a very
early period, as can be proved by the coins of Sybaris,
which city was destroyed in the year 510 B.C. ; while pre-
viously to this period, the incused mode of coinage had been
already abandoned in favour of the more usual method.
After the disuse of the incused method, coins of Sybaris,
apparently belonging to more than one distinct stage of
progress, are known so that the incused method must Have

been abandoned for some considerable time previous to the

destruction of the city in 510 B.C. Supposing it to have
been some forty or fifty years only, it would place the period
of abandoning that mode of coinage as early as 550 B.C.,
and the probable period of the issue of many of the earliest
coins of that make, at least as early as 600 B.C: Mr. Mil-
lingen, the author who has most successfully studied this
class of coins, appears almost tempted to
place them, in
point of antiquity, before any other coins whatever; and
certainly, as far as ascertained date, they are so. The
coins of Alexander I. of Macedon, are the earliest 'of either

Grecian or Asiatic coins to which a positive date can

be assigned (and that is not earlier than 500 B.C.) which

renders the much greater perfection of manipulation of the

incused coins of Sybaris, and other places in Magna Graecia,
dating 600 B.C., truly extraordinary for though the work-

manship is of Archaic character, it is so complete, and so

finished in its style, as to place any other coins, of supposed
equal antiquity, at a great distance in these respects.
Nevertheless, the original idea of such a mode of fabrication
was probably brought to Italy by colonists from Phocasa,
or Clazomene, where I have described the partial existence
of a somewhat similar practice.
Mr. Millingen suggests the possibility that this method
was adopted to prevent forgery but, if such was the case,

the precaution was ineffectual, as forgeries are now in exist-

ence executed with great address, which are evidently as old
as the earliest issues of the originals. This early money of
Magna Graecia is, perhaps, as I have above suggested, the
earliest of any description to which a date can be assigned ;

yet certainly not of the same high antiquity as some ancient

gold of Lydia and the Asiatic colonies of Greece, from which
the idea of an incused reverse was, no doubt, originally
derived. The coins of Alexander I., of Macedon, issued
about 480 B.C., are, as I have stated, the oldest to which a
positive date can be assigned, either of Greece or Western
Asia, while it appears pretty certain that the incused coins of
Sybaris were executed between 560 and 620 B.C., in
confirmation of which it will be necessary to recapitulate
some previously stated facts. Sybaris was founded by a
colony of Achaians, in the year 721 B.C., and destroyed in
the year 510 B.C. previous to its destruction the ancient

mode of coinage, with an incused or sunk impression of the

type of the obverse on the back, had been abandoned, and
the thick coins, in the more usual Greek style, with raised
impressions on both sides, been adopted. But these last-
named coins may have been issued after the re-establishment
of the city in 453, which existed under its ancient name ti]l
448 B.C., when it was again destroyed by the Crotonians.
During those five years the second class of coins may have
been executed which, however, would still give the earliest
incused coins of Sybaris an undoubted antiquity, ranging

from 510 to 550 B.C., supposing, which is unlikely, that it was

not before the last-mentioned date that they began to coiu
money. The wood-cut represents one of the earliest known

Incused Coin of Sybaris.

being represented by the dark shade

incused coins of Sybaris, the sunk impression of the reverse
The inscription

written in archaic characters from right to

is merely Y/^\
left, the sigma ( s) being placed face downwards, as is usual
in very ancient inscriptions it would stand in more modern

characters, and written from left to right, 2T (SY), the first

two letters of the name of the city. The single type, the
bull, alludes no doubt to the river, on or near which the
city was built,* and the name of which, "Thurium," it is
supposed to have taken after its second re-establishment.
The coins of Sybaris, afterwards struck under its new name
of Thurium, belong to the finest period of Greek art, and
are among the most beautiful coins known.
I shall now proceed to describe the examples of the in-
cused coinage of Magna Graecia in the order in which they
occur on Plate III.
No. 5, Plate III., is an incused coin of Caulonia, an
Achaian colony, led by Typhon of ^Egium in Achaia, who
founded this celebrated Grseco-Italic city probably as early as,
or earlier than, 700 B.C. The inscriptions on the coins of this
city do not read from right to left, like the oldest of Sybaris
and Posidonia, and, therefore, though they are of the same
character, are probably only cotemporary with the later coins

* See
Chapter on Greek Coins of the finest period. Coins of Gelas.

of that class of the two above-mentioned places still, at ;

least, as old,most probably, as 500 B.C.,* or, perhaps, half a

century might be added to this estimate of their antiquity.
The name of this city is abbreviated in the inscription (during
the incused period) as KATAO (KAULO). The type is a naked
figure, holding a branch
in one hand, and supporting in the
other a small figure, which holds a smaller branch in each
hand. In front of the figure is a stag or fawn and the ;

whole of these types are repeated in hollow at the back, as

shown by the dark shade in the engraving. This type has
not been well explained, and all that can be said with cer-
tainty respecting it, is that it most likely alludes to some
local tradition. In fabric, with the exception of the more
modern character of the inscription, it greatly resembles the
incused money of Sybaris but the figure, though still

archaic, is in a more advanced style of art, and is executed in

the sharpest style while the border, forming a circle much

truer than is usual in any ancient coins except those of this

class, is very neatly executed. The reverse is, as stated, a
repetition in hollow of the relief on the obverse, and the
punch with which it was produced must have been very
accurately and carefully finished.
No. 6, Plate III., is an early coin of Tarentum of this class,
and of higher antiquity than the Caulonian coin just de-
scribed its type is a figure of a young man in the act of

striking a lyre, and is supposed, by the most recent authorities,

to represent Taras, the son of Neptune, who founded and
gave his name to the city. This supposition is confirmed by
the presence of the name SAPAT, written from right to left,
in the ancient oriental manner, in front of the figure, just as
the name Koras, or Proserpine, the daughter of Ceres,
appears on coins bearing the head of that semi-divinity.
Taras was the reputed son of Neptune and on later coins

of Tarentum, he appears riding on a dolphin, or accompanied

by other marine emblems, to be more particularly noticed
in treating of coins of a later period, where Tarentan corns

* Mr.
Millingen merely says anterior to 389, B.C., the epoch of the des-
truction of Caulonia ;
but the incused style had at that period been long
discontinued. Later Caulonian coins, with reliefs on both sides, exist, having a
stag for the type of the reverse.

hold a most conspicuous place, for number, variety, and

Tarentum was a colony founded by the Lacedaemonians
near the southern extremity of the Italian peninsula, and it
not only became the most powerful of the Greek cities of
Italy, but its prosperity was also the most enduring, a cir-
cumstance attributed to its excellent political institutions,
which, like those of Rome and Sparta, and that of modern
England, partook, in nearly equal parts, of the democratic
and aristocratic principles. Its strong position was another
advantage. For five hundred years no enemy entered the
walls of Tarentum and when the Romans took it, in the

war with Pyrrhus (272 B.C.), it was by treason of the leader

intrusted with its defence as it was also at its second cap-
ture, after the utter discomfiture of Hannibal, in the second
Punic war (209 B.C.). After this second reverse, it lost all
its exterior territory, but yet preserved its internal inde-

pendence, and was one of the Hellenic cities of Italy, which,

in the time of Strabo, still preserved the language of Greece.
The incused coin under description is possibly nearly as
early as the earliest of Sybaris, judging from the very
archaic character of the figure of the Taras, and from the
fact of the inscription being written from right to left, after
the most ancient manner while the Greek P (R) is written

with the tail like the Roman R, only shorter, which par-
tially confirms Pliny's assertion, that the Greek alphabet
was originally formed like the Roman.
The coinage of Tarentum, as observed, eventually surpassed
in extent, in excellence of
workmanship, and variety of types,
that of every other Greek
city of Italy or Sicily, except Syra-
cuse. The gold bears fifteen or sixteen distinctly different
types; and the silver, in the collection of Carelli, presented
above eight hundred varieties. But I have only to do in this
place with the incttsed money of the early period which has only
two types one, that of the engraving,' No. 6, Plate III., just
described a youthful figure,
holding a lyre and the plectrum,

with the inscription, "Taras;" and, the other, Taras riding on

a dolphin, executed in a similar
style of art, and with the same
inscription, and also incused with the type of the obverse
on the back. This last type is the origin of the type of such
exquisite workmanship, which afterwards appeared on the

didrachms of a later period. The type of the first-named of

these two coins is sometimes found incused with the type of
the second or the reverse a singular variety, engraved in

the work of the Due de Luynes, entitled "Nouvelles Annales

Archeologiques."* Some have considered the first to be
Apollo, holding in his right hand a hyacinth flower which ;

would appear to make the figure that of Apollo Hyacintinhus,

whose worship was established at Tarentum. bthers have
deemed the figure that of a Satyr, offering the flower called
Satyrion, in memory of the ancient name of the territory
upon which Tarentum was founded, which was called Satyrion.
But these hypotheses are without sufficient foundation and ;

it is most probable the device alludes to some local myth,

the record of which has not been preserved. The second
type, however, undoubtedly represents Taras, the son of
Neptune, and the legendary founder of the city which was
called after the name of its founder Taras.
The early money of Tarentum is considered by Mr.

Millingen less ancient than that of the Achaian colonies but ;

the inscription, written in very ancient characters from right

to left, appears to make it, at least, more ancient than that of
Caulonia and other cities yet that eminent archaeologist has,

doubtless, good foundation for the remark he has put forth.

]\ o. 7, Plate III., is an incused coin of Crotona. This
coin, like those just described of Caulonia and Tarentum, is
a silver didrachm. Crotona was an Achaian colony, founded
710 B.C., bj Myscellus, of Rhypae, in Achaia it rose

rapidly to wealth and power, and the coinage is remarkable

for its abundance and great
variety of interesting types.
The principal and most ancient of these types is the
tripod, of the Pythian Apollo, whose oracle commu-
nicated to Myscellus the locality in which the departing
colony ought to erect their new city. Hercules and his
attributes were also favourite types on this series of coins,
he being the founder of the Olympic games, at which the
Crotonians met with unexampled success, having obtained
the prize thirteen times in
twenty-six Olympiads. The
most ancient incused coins of Crotona have simply the
tripod for principal type, and the inscription <?^O
firstthree letters of the name the koph being used instead

Paris, 1837.

of the kappa as was usual on the oldest coins of Corinth ;


the same type is incused on the reverse.

The tripod which forms the principal type of the most
ancient coins of this place, is executed with great neatness
and finish, as is also the incused reverse, and the character
9 or K indicates considerable antiquity, independent of the
style of coinage the incused manner having, undoubtedly,

been abandoned through the whole of the Graco-Italic cities

at a very early period.
On later coins of Crotona, one bearing the most interest-
ing devices is that with a tripod, on either side of which
are a figure of Apollo, holding an arrow, and the serpent
Python, with the inscription KPOTHN and on the reverse, ;

the inscription OIKISTAS, in archaic characters, and Hercules

seated before a blazing altar, holding a branch of laurel
in one hand, and in the other his club. The first of these
types alludes to the slaying of the serpent Python by
Apollo, for which exploit he received the surname of Pythian,
under which he was worshipped at Crotona. The type of
the reverse alludes to the expiatory rite of Hercules, after
the death of Croton, or to the offering made to his father
Zeus, on the establishment of the Olympic games. The
branch of olive is that brought by him from the country
of the Hyperboreans, of which the crowns of victory were
No. 8, Plate III., is a coin of Metapontum somewhat more ;

modern, perhaps, but still belonging to the ancient incused

Metapontum was founded, apparently, by a Pelasgic
colony from Chaone, in the north of Greece, about 700 B.C.*
The prosperity of the colony appears to have been great and
rapid and the magnificent gifts of the Metapontians to

many Greek temples, recorded by Pausanius, testify to the

riches of this flourishing city. Metapontum, with the ex-
ception of Tarentum, and the Brettians, is the only Greek
state of Italy that struck gold, and the number and variety
of the types of its coinage are hardly surpassed by any
of the Magna-Grecian series.
The ear of corn, sacred to Ceres, was early adopted by this
* For "
details, see Millingen's Numismatique de 1'Ancienne Italic."

people, in token of gratitude to that divinity for the fertility

of their country and on the earliest coins it is unaccom-

panied by any other symbol, and the inscription is simply

ME, the two first letters of the name. This brevity denotes
a high antiquity, nearly equal, perhaps, to the earliest coins
of Posidonia and Sybaris. On later coins of this state, the
types become very various and interesting, especially those
which appear to have been struck for prizes (a^Xa) at public
games dedicated to the river deity Acheloiis,* of which the
type is a bearded figure, with the head of a bull (the usual
form of a river god), leaning on a reed, and holding a cup,
with a dolphin beneath, the legend being AXEAOIO AAON.
The reverse of this interesting coin is the ancient type, the
ear of wheat, accompanied by a grasshopper.
As a transition from the reverses formed by incused repe-
titions of the type of the obverse, we find on the coinage
of the G-raeco-Italian cities incused impressions on the
reverse, different from the raised ones of the obverse. Of
such is the next specimen.
No. 9, Plate III., is a coin of Sybaris, of a later period,
showing a singular variety of this incused style, perhaps the
transition back to the more usual Greek style. It has the
well-known Sybaritaii type on the principal side, while the
reverse is incused with the impress of an amphora, much in
the manner that the lion's head is struck into the reverse of
the gold coin of Clazomene, described in the latter part of
chapter II, (p. 19.) It also has a greater resemblance to
that style of coinage than the usual incused series, inasmucli
as it is thicker, and
consequently more fitted to receive a
distinct impress at the back.
No. 10, Plate III., is an example of a hemidrachm of
Metapontum, in the above manner; having an incused
ram's head at the back of the usual type of the place, the
No. 11, is still another variety of this transition style, also
a coin of Metapontum, having a wheat-ear on the obverse,
while the reverse is formed of an incused pattern, perhaps a
rude representation of the crescent and star. It now only

Acheloiis, a river of that part of Greece from which the colony origi-
nally emigrated.

required the type of the reverse to be raised, like that of the

obverse, to bring the mode of fabrication of these interesting
coins to the usual mode of Greek coinage, with perfect
obverse and reverse, and at a period when perfect reverses
were not yet practised in any other region, as far as positive
dates can be ascertained.
There are incused coins of other Grseco-Italian states,
especially Posidonia, the modern Psestum ;
but sufficient
have been described to show their general character.


12, Plate III., is a coin attributed by Mionnet to Po-

it exhibits another variety of the early modes of
pulonia ;

coining, and is the last I shall allude to. In the coins

attributed to this Etrurian city, of Tyrrhenian origin, like
most of the more nourishing cities of central Italy of that
period, the reverses have no indent, or punch-mark, and
they appear to have undergone that process, but it cannot
be asserted to have been driven into the die by means of a
smooth and slightly convex punch, the end of which was broad
enough to cover the whole piece of metal, instead of bearing
only against the centre. The usual type of coins attributed
to Populonia is a lion but similarity of fabric, and the cir-

cumstance of the hog being common to later coins of places

in the same region, have probably induced Mionnet to attri-
bute the rare and unique coin under description, bearing a
hog for type, to that place. It was formerly in his own col-
lection, and is a most interesting monument of ancient art.
It weighs 253 grains, nearly the weight of an Athenian
Much more might be said upon the peculiarities of the
early phases of the art of coining money, did space permit.
But I shall in the next chapter, proceed at once to describe
the progress of the art from the period we have arrived at,
to that when perfect reverses were generally adopted.
It remains to allude in this chapter, treating, as it does,
nearly exclusively of the coins of Magna Grraecia and Sicily,
to the gradual extinction of the national coinage in these
countries, as they became subject to Rome, though I may,



perhaps, have to do so again in another place. The course of

disappearance of the national character of the coinage waa
gradual first, the appearance of the dots or globules, denotes
the extinction of the native standards and their forced
accordance with the value of the Roman as ; the next step
was the disappearance of the gold and silver and, eventually,

even of the copper, by the issue of a central coinage exclu-

sively Roman ; this, however, did not take place fully and
finally till after the reigns of the three or four of

Caesars, and, in some few cases, still later.


IN former chapters, I have endeavoured to trace the variations

in the earliest modes of fabricating coined money. I shall
now endeavour to follow its progress from the time when
the punch-mark of the reverse first assumed a somewhat
regular form, to the period when the mode of executing both
sides of the coin with equal perfection and elaboration was
From the great variety of early methods described in the
preceding chapter, it will be seen that it would be impossible
to follow the separate progress of each and I can only just

hint at the curious fact, that in some of the towns of Magna

Graecia they passed at once from the curious incused * method,
to that of producing perfect reverses, while in other places
the progress from the square punch-mark to the perfect
reverse, appears to have been much more gradual, as will be
shown by the series of examples about to be described.,
It was probably about the year 550 B.C., or rather earlier.

* See coins of Sybaris, &c., chap. iv.


that the degree of symmetry exhibited in the punch-mark

of the coin, No. 1, Plate IV., was attained. It is a coin
of Abdera, in Thrace. Abdera, as related by Pomponius
Mela, owed its origin to Abdera, sister of Diomedes, who,
according to the fable, fed his celebrated Thracian steeds on
human flesh, and was slain by Hercules. Being abandoned,
after a hostile invasion, Abdera was, eventually, re-colonised
by Asiatic Greeks, Teians, of Ionia, who, dreading the in-
creasing power of the Persians, abandoned their native town,
and fled to the more distant ruined town in Thrace, which
they restored. The striking resemblance between the money
of Teos and Abdera * is a strong and valuable evidence of
this emigration, both having for principal type the griffon.
The character of the punch-mark, and the archaic treatment
of the griffon, would seem to prove that this rare coin
must have been one of the first struck by the new in-
habitants of Abdera. The antique spelling of the name,
with the P formed like the Roman P, marks a degree of
antiquity at least equal to that here assigned to this coin.
The griffon was sacred to Apollo, a divinity highly venerated
at Teos, the parent stae.
Before passing to the next example, the student should
carefully observe the obverse and reverse of this rare monu-
ment of a peculiar phase of ancient art, in order to better
appreciate the importance of the next step in advance.
No. 2, Plate IV., is a Macedonian coin, which, in its mode
of fabric, has considerable affinity with those of the neigh-
bouring country of Thrace. The punch-mark is similar to that
of Abdera but the important addition of a name, and that,

too, of a prince, the period of whose reign is well known,

makes it a most important numismatic monument. The
name is that of Alexander I., King of Macedonia, who
reigned from about the year 500 to 454 B.C. The inscrip-
tion stands AAESANAPO, in the dative case, in the ancient
manner, with o instead of n. It was till recently thought
that this was probably the first coin struck with an inscrip-
tion on the reverse, as other coins of precisely similar type and
fabric in other respects, and evidently of the same epoch,
have the same punch-mark without inscription like the coin
of Abdera, described above.

* See Greek
chapter on types.

The celebrity of the horses of Thrace and Macedonia

led, no doubt, to the adoption of the horse as a principal type
on early Macedonian coins, generally accompanied by a
warrior, wearing on his head, what has been termed the
Macedonian hat. On later coins of this state, the warrior is
mounted, and eventually, this early type was abandoned
altogether. The coin just described is the earliest regal
coin known of a prince mentioned in history, and it conse-
quently makes a most interesting monument in numismatic
The recently-discovered coins, however, of a Getas, king
of the Edoneans, a prince whose name has only been
recovered by means of the coins alluded to, bear a strong
affinity, in style, to those of Alexander I. of Macedon,
have in addition to the name, as on the coins of Alexander,
the title of king, and the name of the people over whom he
Such an inscription would, according to numismatic theory,
place the fabrication of these coins at a much more recent
period ; but the style of art (unless it be a barbaric imitation
by later workmen, of Macedonian coins of an earlier period)
at once stamps them of the period of Alexander I. They
are considered, by numismatists of high authority, to be
genuine coins, and hence become most important and inte-
resting monuments in that science. The Edoneans appear to
have possessed that range of country on the borders of
Thessaly, in which the abundance of silver ore in the moun-
tains, caused mines to be worked by several Greek nations
at a very early period, who established colonies there for
that purpose. That the Edoneans were in the possession of
great monetary wealth is evidenced by these coins, which are
of unusually great weight, being octodracJims, or pieces of
eight drachms, double the size of the highest class of silver
coins common in other states of that period. The inscrip-
tions are found in two different dialects, running sometimes
TETAS HAHNAN BASiAEns (of the King of the Edoneans,
Getas) in the Doric, with Basileus in the genitive case ;

and sometimes, TETAS EAONEON BASIAETS, in the Ionic, with

Basileus in the nominative case.
Coins of the neighbouring tribes of the Osseans of similar
character, are known, but only with the name of the people,

an ./Eolian genitive (of the Osseans), and no name

of a prince.
The woodcut below of a coin of Gretas, in the British
Museum, will convey a good idea of the style of this coinage,
and of its close resemblance, except in the fulness of the
inscription, to those of Alexander I.

Coin of Getas, king of the Edoneans.

No. 3, Plate IV,, is a coin of Clazomene, which is one of

the earliest attempts to place a type similar to the principal
one, in the punch-mark of the reverse. The obverse bears
one of the principal Clazomenean types, the lion ; while, in
the hollow of the punch-mark, we find, rudely executed, the
winged boar,* another and more celebrated symbol of this
place. The general appearance and execution of this would
probably induce a numismatist to assign it to a period of
antiquity about as high as the coin of Alexander I.
No. 4, Plate IV., is an early coin of Syracuse, exhibiting one
of the best defined examples of the first introduction of a
human head within the four squares of the punch-mark.
It is most probably the head of Proserpine, or Koras, as she
is commonly styled on Syracusan coins. The outline of the
head is harsh and archaic in character, and the hair is formed
by a repetition of small round lumps, or dots, to imitate
curls, a style common in archaic art of the period to which
this coin may, with the greatest degree of probability, be
assigned, viz., about 480 or 490 B.C. as the improved coins

attributed to the time of Gelo I., having a perfect reverse,

* See
description of plate 1, a gold coin of Clazomene.




though still archaic in the style of art (may be dated about

478 B.C.)* The biga, or two-horse chariot, which is here first
met with, afterwards became a favourite type upon various
coins of Greece and her colonies, and nearly constant on those
of Syracuse, having some allusion, it is supposed, to victories
in the Olympic Games. The horses, here only stepping,
are, on later coins, represented in more rapid action and ;

were eventually, in the type of quadriga, or four-horse

chariot, represented, as we shall see, at full gallop, and with
the greatest spirit and beauty. The inscription on the
present coin is 2YPA, the first four letters of Syracuse.
No. 5 is a coin of Maronea, selected only with the view of
exhibiting another link in the progress of the fabrication of
the reverse. Maronea, in Thrace, according to Mythologic
tradition, was founded by Maron, a companion of Osiris, or,
according to others, a son of Bacchus. The usual type of
Maronea, is a bunch of grapes, which occurs on coins having
the first letters of the name of the place, 2AP, the M placed
in the position of a sigma and the occurrence of the same

type on this coin, the fabric of which is of Thracian cha-

racter, has caused it to be attributed to that place, although
the inscription is only the name of an unknown magistrate
(HHNONO2), and consequently conveys no evidence as to the
place where the coin was struck. The disposition of the
inscription is nearly the same as that on the coin of
Alexander I., but the execution is much more finished, both
of the reverse, and of the Thracian type, the horse, on the
obverse. It may have been struck about 450 B.C. but, ;

with very few exceptions, such dates are mere hypotheses,

and the student must, by comparison and study, work
out his own system of chronology for these primitive coins,
as it is a branch of numismatics that has not yet seriouly
engaged the attention of the most learned int he science.
No. 6, Plate IV., is a coin of the Spartan colony of Cyrene,
in Africa, selected for the purpose of exhibiting the great
advance in the execution and treatment of the head of
Jupiter Ammon, introduced in the punch-mark, from the
head of Proserpine, on the Syracusaii coin, No. 4, in the

These dates tend to show that art in Sicily was more .advanced at this
time than in Greece and Macedonia,

plate under description. Battus, of Thera, an island subject

to Laconia, founded Gyrene about 640, B.C. The Sil-
phium, a beautiful and valuable plant growing abundantly in
that district, was, by the Cyreneans, made sacred to his
memory, as the founder of the city, and a branch of the
herb was annually carried to the mother country and offered
up as a sacrifice in the temple of Delphi. It is this plant
which forms the type of the obverse of the coin I am now
describing, and continued to form the principal type of the
Cyrenean money, long after the subjection of the whole of
northern Africa to the power of Rome. The head on the
reverse is sharp and spirited in execution, and surrounded by
a circular line of dots within the square, leaving space in the
angles for the letters KTP, the first three of the name, which,
on coins of the Roman period, is found at full length. This
coin, though still exhibiting the ancient characteristic of the
punch-mark, is, perhaps, not older than about 430 to 450 B.C.,
or of the time of Pericles, when the art of sculpture was carried
to the highest pitch in Athens, by the celebrated Phidias ;

but the square mark seems to have been preserved with a

sort of veneration, long after the excellence of art displayed
on the coins where it is found is sufficient to prove that it
could have been dispensed with if desired.
No. 7, Plate IV., is a coin of the celebrated city of Athens,
and, possibly, as modern as the time of Pericles, though the
severe and almost rude archaism with which the head of
Athena (Minerva), the tutelary deity of the city, is executed,
might incline one to assign it to an earlier period than
that in which the great Phidias produced the wonderful
metopes of the Parthenon. But it is acknowledged by
numismatists that the Athenians paid but little attention to
the art displayed on their money, and were surpassed by
most cities both of Greece and the colonies in this particular.
The reverse has the deep square punch-mark, with the owl,
the principal attribute of Minerva, for type with a spray of

olive, sacred to the same divinity, in the corner, and the

letters AGE. This symbol, the owl, gave rise to the well-
known anecdote of the Athenian miser, the roof of wiiose
house was said to be infested by vast numbers of owls, in
allusion to money of the well-known Athenian type being
concealed there. Having a few more observations to make

on Athenian coins when speaking of Greek money of the

first period, I shall dismiss the subject now.
No. 8, Plate IV., is a coin of Methymne, in the isle of
Lesbos, and is selected with the view of showing another
style of archaic art of about the same period, as exhibited
in the treatment of the head of Minerva, which in this
instance is placed within the square punch-mark of the
reverse and which, though the manner of describing the

curling hair, by means of small lumps or dots, is similar to

that on the Athenian coin, yet the whole treatment is much
more refined and delicate. The obverse, which I have not
space to engrave, has the figure of a boar, very finely treated,
with the inscription, at full length, ME0YMNAIQN, " of the
The word ME6Y wine and that Bacchus was
signifies ;

worshipped in this place isproved by his head appearing

frequently on its coins. His surname, Methymnian, is no
doubt derived from hence. On the early coins of Me-
thymne, the short e (E) is used in spelling the name,
but in late coins the long e (H) as MH6Y. Arion, the in-
ventor of dithyrambic verse, was born in Methymne, and his
figure forms the type of late bronze coins of this place, he
is represented sitting on the
dolphin, which is said to have
preserved him from the waves under the fascination of
his singing. He generally holds in one hand the lyre, and
in the other the plectrum.
No. 9, Plate IV., is a coin of Lete, which exhibits the
improvement in the treatment of the group of a centaur
carrying off a female, over the rude figures on a coin of a
former period of the same place (No. 10, Plate II.), the
hollow punch-mark of which is exceedingly rough and rude,
whilst in this instance it is a sharp, perfect square, within
which is a helmet, executed with exquisite sharpness and
finish,though in a somewhat archaic feeling. The coins of
Lete were formerly ascribed to Lesbos by Combe and others,
from imperfectly reading the difficult inscription, which
Sestini discovered should be read from left to right, when
the rude and antique characters evidently make AETAION,
" of the
Leteans," but they stand NOlATaA.
Lete, according to Pliny and Ptolemy, was situated on the
confines of Macedonia, and the fables of centaurs, &c., in

that and neighbouring districts, abounding in a noble breed

of wild horses, arose, no doubt, from the feats performed
by those who first subjugated the horse to the will of man,
and who, mounted on one of those beautiful animals, and
guiding it at will to approach or retreat with super-human
rapidity, gave rise in the minds of the vulgar to the idea
that the man and horse were one supernatural being.*'
"We have in modern history a singular and interest-
ing example of similar superstition. When the natives of
America, where the horse was unknown, first saw their
invaders, the Spaniards, mounted on those animals, and in
complete armour, they imagined that the cavalier and steed
formed but one being, of supernatural powers and endow-
ments, which they sought to propitiate by prayers and
sacrifices. Such groups as those exhibited on the rude
money of Lete and other places, were, doubtless, the first
step towards the treatment of similar subjects by Phidias,
to whose works they bear a striking affinity in the simplicity
of their conception, though, as yet, at an immeasurable dis-
tance in artistic treatment.
No. 10, Plate IV., is a coin of Acanthus, in Macedonia,
which exhibits the same disposition of letters and squares
as in the coin of Alexander I., but each compartment is
filled by a symmetrical, raised, geometric figure, ornamented
with a fine frosting of small dots, being surmounted by a little
square the whole with the inscription AKAN0ION, being much

sharper than in the coin of the earlier period. The obverse

of this fine coin represents a combat in which a bull is over-
come by a lion; a symbol of Oriental origin described in
another place. The inscription beneath the group, imperfect
in the specimen I have engraved, is perfect in others, and
is AAEHIO2, supposed to be the name of a magistrate holding

power connected with the issue of the coin of the state, as

elsewhere alluded to.
No. 11. Plate IV., is a coin of Archelaus, king of Mace-
donia, who ascended the Macedonian throne in the year 413,
* The term centaur is most
probably derived from the words Kevreca, to
pursue or to hunt and ravpos, a bull. The Thracians and Thessalians having

been celebrated, from the earliest times, for their skill and daring in hunting
wild bulls, which they pursued, mounted on the noble horses of those districts,
which were a celebrated breed even in the later times of the Roman

and reigned till 399 B.C. Here we meet again with the
warrior of the coin of Alexander I., holding the two spears;
but a century has elapsed, and the art displayed is suf-
ficient to mark the difference of period. The warrior is
now mounted, and sits his steed with almost the grace of
a work of Phidias, though there is a slight stiffness about
the outline, the Macedonian hat, and other details, which,
with all its bold relief and fine simplicity, always charac-
terises Macedonian art, even down to the time of Alexander
the Great. The reverse of this coin still exhibits the hollow
punch-mark, within which is the forepart of a goat, very
boldly executed a type supposed to allude to the siege ot

Edessa,by Caranus,the founder of the Macedonian monarchy;

who, profiting by the darkness of approaching night, fol-
lowed a flock of goats returning to the town, and entered,
unperceived, along with them. He changed the name of the
place to JEgas or ^Egae, signifying a goat, and it became the
residence of the Macedonian kings, till Philip II. removed
it to Pella after whose time, however, the kings were still

interred in the royal tombs at ^Egas: other coins of

Archelaus have his name, by comparison with which, this
can be undoubtedly attributed to him. The square punch-
mark appearing on this coin, to which an approximate date
can be assigned, viz., between 413 and 399 B.C., shows that
that form of fabric remained very late in use indeed it

does not entirely disappear from the Macedonian series

before the reign of Amyntas II., who died 367 B.C.
It will be seen, therefore, that this relic of barbaric fabri-
cation was practised, in some places, long after very fine
art had been devoted to the coinage some coins of the

finest workmanship, to be spoken of hereafter, having still

this peculiarity, while, in other places, the mode of making
both sides of the coin equally perfect, for the display of
their respective types, without any trace of punch-mark,
was attained at a comparatively early period.
In the coins of Sybaris, for instance, after the destruction
and rebuilding of the city, 510 B.C., the old style of incused
coining, peculiar to Magna Gra3cia, was abandoned, and the
usual Greek method adopted, but with both sides of the
coin perfect. Thus, it would appear that the coins of this
place were fabricated in a perfect manner, as to equally good

impressions on both sides, as early as 510 B.C., which seems

strangely at variance with all the rest of the chronology of
numismatic progress.
Some of the Sicilian coins, to which a pretty accurate date
can be assigned, such as the fine medallion, for instance,
assigned to the time of G-elo (478 B.C.), are perfect on both
But the general adoption of the more perfect process may
be taken generally as from 450 to 400 B.C., though, as I have
shown, in some places the improvement preceded that period
by more than half a century, while in others it was half a
century later.
In the next chapter I shall treat of the general Greek
coinage of the finest character; which ranges from about
400 to 300 B.C., though occasional fine monuments of numis-
matic art are found till the encroachments of the spreading
power of Borne paralysed the independent energies of Greek
art, about a century later.



have seen, in former chapters, how the Greek coinage

originated ; and what was the nature and style of execution
of its earliest types, grand even in their early rudeness. We
have seen how perfection of execution gradually developed
itself; and we shall see in the course of describing the coins
engraved in Plate V., how the greatest possible degree of
exquisite finish was finally accomplished without losing

anything of the grand simplicity of the earlier examples,

which, in fact, in the oneness and purity of their conception
however rude the execution fore-shadowed the future
excellence and supremacy of Grecian art which supremacy

and excellence, as concerning the coinage especially, existed

from about 420 to 200 B.C.
* The finest Greek coins of the regal class will be found treated of in the

summary of the various dynasties, accompanied by a plate of specimens.



~No. 1., Plate V., is a silver tetradrachm of Athens. The

celebrity of the Athenian capital, as queen of the fine arts in
Greece, and in the then civilised world, naturally leads to
the expectation that the coins of the luxurious and elegant
republic will exhibit a corresponding superiority. But this
is not the case;
and we find the coins of Athens, though far
from contemptible in point of art, yet greatly inferior in
elegance of design, and in the sharp and exquisitely expressive
workmanship which distinguishes the coinage of the other
Greek states, and more especially the Hellenic colonies of
Sicily and the south of Italy. These remarks will apply espe-
cially to the reverse of the present coin, on which the Owl is
stiffand poor in design, even wretchedly so, when compared
to the eagles on coins of Tarentum, or on those of the
Ptolemies, the bull on those of Thurium, the lion and bull
on those of Acanthus, or a hundred other examples of the
magnificent artistic design of various animals exhibited on
coins of Greek workmanship. The wreath of olive, how-
ever, is not without elegance, and alludes, as does the vase
on which the owl is standing, to the widely celebrated
excellence and value of the oil of the Athenian 'olive groves.
The principal inscription is the customary A0E (ATHE)
of the Athenian coinage; accompanied by the names MENEA (os)
EnirENO. O<IEAO, which may perhaps be read as Menedos,
the son of Epigenos, and Ophelon, who were, doubtless,
the magistrates then having charge of the mint. Athens,
when originally founded on the Acropolis by Cecrops, was,
as is well known, named after its founder, Cecropia; but
when Theseus joined several surrounding suburbs to the
ancient fortress-town, and dedicated it to Athena (the
Greek Minerva or Pallas) the new city was named after
that divinity, Athenae.
There is also on this coin a small figure of ^Esculapius, a
sort of mint mark, or perhaps a monetary sign of some
foreign mint with which that of Athens was in correspon-
dence. The head of Minerva on the obverse may possibly
have been copied from that of the celebrated statue of

Phidias, the description of which, by Pausanias, corresponds

with it in every respect. This head, though not equal to
the work found on some Greek coins, is yet very beautiful ;
the various enrichments of the helmet being executed with
considerable skill.
The coin is apparently of rather a late period, that is to
say, at least a century posterior to the time of Alexander
the Great, and after Athens had lost her independence.
Athenian coins of very early periods are engraved in
Plates III. and IV.
Much has been written on the subject of the inferiority
of the Athenian coinage in point of art. Some consider
that its celebrity for weight and purity having rendered it
current in many remote countries, rendered it dangerous
to change the types in the slightest degree lest its cur-;

rency among barbarous or semi-civilised people might be

checked as we know, in our own time, that the Chinese

would, a short time back, take no silver except Spanish

dollars, and those only of one peculiar type, known as the
column type. Mr. Dumersan, however, considers that the
mere artistic improvement of the types could not have
injured the circulation anywhere, and is inclined to attribute
the cause of inferiority to the lack of good die-sinkers, and
the determination of the Athenians, notwithstanding this
deficiency, never to employ foreigners in such a national
matter as the public coinage. The Athenians, he says, had
great sculptors, great painters, and great architects but it ;

does not follow that they had also great engravers.

Coins of the secondary towns of the state of Attica pre-
sent no remarkable features, and many of them, especially
those attributed to the celebrated Marathon, are of doubtful
genuineness, or doubtful attribution.
No. 2, Plate V. is a coin of Boeotia. The Grecian state of
Boeotia was one of the first to coin money, which was struck
after the standard and in the style of the fabric of the
coinage of ^Egina,* but with the w ell known national type,

the Boeotian shield or buckler.

Boeotia, the country of Pindar, of Hesiod, of Corinna, and
other great names ;
the country where Mount Helicon
arose, the fabled seat of the Muses, was yet, according to

* See Greek
Chapter on \veights.

its own poet, Pindar, the country of a semi-barbarous people.*

The Boeotians were in fact more sedulous in cultivating the
arts of war than those of peace, as intimated in their
national monetary type, the buckler though seldom suc- ;

cessful in war, except during the brief career of the great

Epaminondas. They were, however, celebrated as workers
of armour, and Venus procured the arms of Achilles, from a
Boaotian anvil, while Pindar speaks of Thebes as, xpuo-aoin?,
the city of the golden shields. The Boeotian shield has been
thought by some to be a perversion of the Egyptian Scaraboaus,
the Egyptian name of the Breotian capital, Thebes, appearing
to sanction the idea of an Egyptian origin also, for the
money of the country, f
The Bo3otian shield was so distinct from all other Grecian
types, that it was frequently used unaccompanied by an
inscription, as in the present instance, being alone suf-
ficient to distinguish the money of this people throughout
all Greece. On the obverse, this coin has a fine head of
the Indian Bacchus, crowned with ivy.
It is probably the money of the capital, Thebes, that is
most frequently found without any inscription,t whilst that
of the other cities of the state are distinguished by the
initial letters of their names. That of Tanagra, for in-
stance, has TA. and the forepart of a horse for type. The
ancient shield forming the reverse. The poetess Corinna
was born in this city.
The celebrated Plata3a, the scene of the signal defeat of
the Persians, has the letters IIAA on its coins, accompanied by
a head of Juno the reverse, as usual, being the well-known

national type, the shield. Some of the coins of Boeotia, pro-

bably of Thebes itself, bear part of the name of a magistrate;
those with EIIAM, which is most probably part of that of
the great Theban leader and statesman, Epaminondas, the

* The
people of Thebes, who had been brought under the domination of
Macedon by Philip II., at the death of that prince, slaughtered the garrison he
had placed there ;
to revenge which act of treachery, Alexander, his successor,

completely destroyed the city, sparing only the house in \vhich Pindar
was born.
*}* See Introductory Chapter.
J It is, however, often found with a , the first letter of 0EBH.

name being perhaps struck during his tenure of some office

connected with the national coinage.
No. 3, Plate V., is assumed to be a coin of Delphi. The
temple of Delphi, which gave rise eventually to the city,
arose in consequence of a singular natural phenomenon, of
a description which, in remote ages, and upon uninstructed
races, never failed to exercise extraordinary influence, espe-
cially when artfully turned to account by a priesthood more
advanced in knowledge than the mass of the people.
Acavern was discovered, emitting gaseous exhalations,
which produced a species of intoxication, under the influence
of which, men uttered strange and wild, and often, appa-
rently, prophetic exclamations. This was the beginning of
the famous oracle of Delphos and here arose the celebrated

temple, the edicts issued from which, in the form of oracles,

influenced the destinies of the then known world; and,
through those destinies, even our own.
The Amphictyonic council, composed of twelve deputies
from different Grecian states, met at Delphi each spring
and autumn. This noble institution, created for the high
purpose of an international tribunal, a tribunal before the
judgments of which, guilty kings and guilty nations were
made to repair their wrongs, was one of the finest govern-
mental ideas of the Greeks and if it failed eventually to

fulfil its
lofty purposes, it still claims our deepest sympathy
and admiration for the noble attempt.
It is thought doubtful whether the coin here engraved
was issued by the city of Delphi, as the workmanship is
greatly superior to other coins of the district, and as it bears
only the inscription AM*IKTIO (AMPHICTIO), from which
circumstance it is thought by some that it may have been
not common money, but a medal presented to each member
of the Amphictyonic council, as a mark of his dignity. The
head on the obverse appears to be that of Apollo wearing
the sacerdotal veil, which gives it the somewhat female
air, that induced Eckhel to consider it rather the sybil

Herophila. The reverse is a full figure of Apollo, clothed in

sacerdotal robes, and leaning on the lyre. He holds a
branch of laurel, and is seated upon the cortina. The
whole coin, obverse and reverse, is of the most beautiful
Grecian art.


]STo. 4, PLATE V., is a coin of
Ephesus. Having described
specimens of the coins of some of the most celebrated cities
of Greece Proper, the next in interest to the student will be
those of the Asiatic colonies, and, above all, of Ionia, the most
refined and the most celebrated in art and science. Ephesus
was the most celebrated city of Ionia, frequently styled upon
coins of the Roman period, "first city of Asia," and by
authors of an earlier date, "the light of Asia," c. The coin
engraved in Plate V., belongs to the finest period of the
monetary art as practised at Ephesus, probably soon after
the invasion of Alexander, when the Greek cities of Asia
Minor were relieved from the thraldom of Persia.
The ancient type of the bee is thus explained by a tradi-
tion preserved by Philostratus, who says that when the
Athenians led their colony to found the city of Ephesus, the
Muses, in the form of bees, flew before them, directing the
course of the fleet.
This graceful fable may have been invented after the
Ephesians had become celebrated in art and in literature,
though, as a colony of the refined Athenians, it would always
have been appropriate. Libanius has recorded that the
money of the Ephesians bore a stag as one of the principal
types, and this type finds its place on the money of Ephesus
as one of the attributes of Diana, whose celebrated temple at
Ephesus is too well known to require more than a passing
allusion. The palm-tree is not so clearly explained, but
appears to have been a common Asiatic type.
On money of Ephesus, of the Roman period, the figure
of the celebrated deity, Diana Multimammia* is represented,
symbolising the general nurse of man and animals. Avery
ancient statue of Egyptian style, of this character, was
venerated in the temple at Ephesus, for as St. Jerome
remarks, it was not Diana the huntress, but the Diana
^MuUimammia, that was principally worshipped by the
Ephesians. On the very early coins of Ephesus, the ancient
type of the bee appears alone.


No. 5, Plate V., is a coin of Clazomene. This city, like

Ephesus, was situated in the Ionian peninsula, and is
remarkable, in a numismatic point of view, for the beauty
of its coins. The riches of its citizens were proverbial,
chiefly arising from the trade in oil.
The head of Apollo on the gold coin I am describing, is
of most exquisite workmanship, and appears in full face a ;

peculiarity adopted on the coins of several places, between

about 400 and 350 B.C. Among the most remarkable and
beautiful examples of such treatment are the head of Medusa,
on the coins of Larissa the fine head of Apollo on those of

Amphipolis the same head, more broadly treated, on those


of Rhodes, the beautiful Arethusa, and the Pallas, on the

coins of Syracuse and also, the fine Apollo on the coinage

of the kings of Caria.

The head of Apollo was adopted as a type on the money
of Clazomene, as the tutelary deity of the city, where a
magnificent temple was erected for his worship. The city
was anciently called Grynsea, from which name the deity
worshipped at Clazomene was distinguished as the Grynsean
The reverse of this exquisite coin bears a swan, in the act
of grazing, with KAA (KLA) the beginning of KAAZOMENinN
(KLAZOMENION), of the Clazomenians, and the name of a
magistrate, AETKAIOS (LEUKAIOS), accompanied by a
The swans of Ionia were celebrated as more elegantly
formed than those of other countries but the immediate

cause of a swan being found as a Clazomenian type is, that

the bird was sacred to Apollo, and also recalled the tradition
of Cycnus, prince of Ionia, killed by Achilles at the siege of
Troy, who was changed into a swan by his father, Neptune,
when the bird received his name. The ancient type of
Clazomene was the winged boar,* and also a ram the latter ;

was probably assumed by this trading community as sacred

to Mercury, the god of commerce.
No. 6, f Plate V., is a coin of Smyrna. Ancient Smyrna,
was one of the first cities founded by the Greeks in Asia, and
was one of the allied cities belonging to the institution of the
* See
description of Plate I.
*} Omitted in the Plate for want of room.

Panionian games, along with Miletus, Ephesus, Colophon,

the islands of Samos and Chios, <fcc. Ancient Smyrna was
totally destroyed by the Lydians, but an unique coin of
electrum is attributed to it by Mionnet, bearing on one side
the head of Mercury and on the other a lion.
The city was re-established by Alexander the Great, after
his conquests in Asia, upon a new site, and the Autonomous
coins of Smyrna found in collections, were all issued after this
period the privilege of striking Autonomous money being

secured to them by Alexander and his successors.

The bulk of the silver coins of Smyrna are fine tetra-
drachms (pieces of four drachms), bearing on the obverse
a finely executed female head wearing a turretted crown,
which is generally considered an impersonation of the city.
Many of the cities of Asia to which the right of issuing
autonomous coins was conceded by Alexander, and his suc-
cessors the kings of Syria, have, from and after the Alexan-
drian period, a head of this description on the obverse of
their coins among which, those of Damascus are among the

best executed, after those of Smyrna.

The reverse of the coin under description is not engraved
on Plate V. for want of space it bears a fine heraldic-

looking lion, stepping, within a wreath of oak-leaves similar

to that found on the later regal coins of Maceclon.* The
inscription is ZMTPNAIHN (ZMYRNAION) spelt with a Z, as
Zmyrna, and in the genitive case, of Smyrna.
The addition of another name, as well as that of a magis-
trate, is very common on the coins of Smyrna, as also
various monograms.
No. 7, Plate V., is a coin of Panticapea. We
have seen
how great was the excellence of Greek art displayed on the
coinage of Ionia, the centre of Greek civilisation in Asia and ;

the present example will afford us a glimpse of its character

when placed at the extreme limit of Grecian influence.
Panticapea, a Chersonesean colony of the Milesians, coined
money at an early period, and we find that Greek art trans-
planted to that remote position, became partially imbued
with Scythian elements, which, though they modified, yet
did not destroy the Greek, and communicated to them a
peculiar tone which was far from being unattractive while ;

* See coins of the kings of Macedon, especially the last king, Perseus.

the execution of the types of the coinage of Pantica,pea,

at the best period, is peculiarly pleasing on account of its

sharpness and finish, as may be observed in the present

coin, a gold stater. Mr. Dumersan observes that the head
of Pan has not the same dignity and refinement that it
possesses on Arcadian coins, which is true, but it has what
is perhaps, equally good, a true rusticity of aspect without

coarseness, a character so admirably expressed in the

famous statue of the Faun, in the collection of the Vatican.
The effigy of Pan was adopted as a monetary type by the
Panticapeans, as some say, from the analogy of the name
with that of their city, thus becoming what is termed a
" "
speaking type,* But it will no doubt be found that the
itself is much more deeply-seated, and that, in a
country where the vine was abundant and the worship of
Bacchus general, the name of the new city was not acci-
dental; and the new colony probably dedicated their
settlement, situated in the forest wild of the unexplored
portions of the country, to the Sylvan God Pan, and thence it
was that the name of the settlement became associated with
that of this divinity, whose effigy would thus find its natural
place on the coinage. On the reverse, standing on an ear of
wheat, is a griffon, with rounded wings, resembling that of
Teos. The griffon holds in its mouth a javelin, the most
formidable weapon of the Thracians and other tribes
inhabiting the countries bordering on the Bosphorus.
In the inscription the name of the place is abbreviated,
as DAN (PAN), which, at a later period, became IIANTI
(PANTI), and eventually nANTiKAiiAmN (PANTICAPAION), of
the Panticapeans.


No. 8, Plate Y., is a coin of Syracuse. The coins struck

by the Greek colonists of Sicily are among the most beautiful
within the whole range of Greek monetary art, and are so
numerous and various that a noble cabinet might be formed
of them alone.
Sicily was originally called Trinacria, which name, ac-

See Chapter on Types.

cording to Pliny, arose from its three principal promon-

tories,* which are symbolised also in the national monetary
types of the three joined legs, called the triquetra. The
island was originally inhabited by two distinct races, who
appear to have been continually at war with each other. But
the records of these aborigines disappear before the presence
of Greek colonists, who at an early period settled on the
shores of the fertile island. The Corinthians, under the
conduct of Archias, appear to have arrived and founded the
city of Syracuse, 757 years B.C.
It would be impossible in this volume to allude to a
hundreth part of the exquisite types found on the Greek
coinage of Sicily; but as select examples of the whole,
those of Syracuse may be especially cited.
Of Syracusan coins of the earliest epochs I have spoken
in my description of No. 4, Plate III. and No. 4., Plate IV.
Of the finest epoch, the celebrated and highly prized medal-
lions^ bearing the head of Ceres or Proserpine are the most
remarkable. This type was early adopted by the Syracusans,
whose worship of Ceres arose no doubt from the fertility of the
soil and favourable temperature of the climate for the growth
of corn, which caused Sicily, at a later period, to be termed the
granary of Italy. The execution of these heads of Proserpine
or Ceres under several variations of treatment, is beyond all
praise and our engraving, though of necessity, falling far

below the original, will be sufficient to bear out the asser-

tion. The head described as Proserpine or Ceres, is by
some thought to be Arethusa and the crown of sedges

might appear to strengthen that hypothesis, particularly as

Arethusa was worshipped as a river deity in many cities of
The primitive Syracusan type, the dolphin, plays a secon-
dary part round the fine head just described in addition to ;

Pelorus, Pachynus, and Lilybseum.
f So called from their unusual dimensions. They are possibly decadrachms.
See Chapter on Greek Weights.
The fine head on the obverse of this is supposed, by Dr. Noehden, fol-
lowing Torremuzza, to be that of Arethusa. The Nymph of the Spring or
Fountain of Arethusa, near Syracuse, certainly received divine honour from the
Syracusans. Strabo describes the fountain, or rather as -we should call it, a
small lake, as being formed of the sweetest water, and containing a great
multitude of fishes : from it issued a stream which flowed into the sea.

which is the inscription srPAKOSinN (SYRAKOSION), of

Syracuse, or of the Syracusans, occupying the upper part
of the coin. The reverse of this coin presents what
may be considered one of the masterpieces of the art of
die engraving; it is a quadriga, or four-horse chariot,
which, though on so small a scale, is yet treated with
all the breadth and grandeur that Phidias might have

imparted to it as a metope of the Parthenon. The magni-

ficent subject of the quadriga, accompanied by a figure of

Yictory crowning the driver, which forms so frequent a

device on many ancient coins, records most probably
triumphs at the Olympic games achieved by the citizens of
towns issuing coins of this type. The type, in the present
instance, is accompanied by a complete suite of armour, a
panoplia (-jravoTrXia) consisting of a coat of mail (thorax) ;

helmet, shield, spear, and greaves (ocreaB), which were

defences for the leg beneath, is the word ABAA (ATHLA),

signifying prizes, or, in the Doric dialect, the reward of

victory. Greek writers do not allude to such prizes being
distributed at the Olympic games, and only speak of the
o-re^ai/j;, or wreath, using the verb ortyavifa, to crown or
cover with a wreath but there are records of prizes at

similar games, consisting of a golden tripod, &c. And Virgil

especially mentions sacred tripods, arms, splendid robes,
and talents of gold and silver. It is possible that Pindar
and other Greeks who allude to the subject, considered the
wreath the true symbol of honour, and so did not allude to
the prizes consisting of armour, &c.*
The inscriptions on the Syracusan coins are in the Doric
or Peloponessian dialect, being a Corinthian colony and this ;

circumstance shows the extensive range of study necessary

to the full appreciation of the value of historical evidence
afforded by coins, f In addition to the larger inscrip-
tions, recent numismatic discovery has detected smaller
ones, hitherto unperceived or thought to be the names of
magistrates, but which, it is highly probable, are actually
those of the matchless artists who produced these and other

* There are archaic medallions of the same

weight, \vhich are attributed
to the time of Gelo I., perhaps 480 B.C. the fine ones, above described, are

assigned to the age of Dionysius, probably from about 404 to 420 B.C.
f See Chapter on Inscriptions.

exquisite Sicilian coins that have been preserved to us, for

other particulars respecting which I must refer the reader
to the chapter on "the art displayed in the Greek coinage,"
and the chapter on Greek inscriptions.
Many other types are found on the coins of Syracuse,
such as the head of Jupiter the Liberator; adopted, a
passage in Diodorus informs us, after they threw off the
yoke of the tyrant Thrasybulus, when a temple was erected
to Jupiter the Liberator the Eleutherian games, or games

of Liberty, were established at the same epoch. On the

gold of Syracuse, Diana SHTEIPA, or Diana the Saviour,
was struck, to commemorate some great benefit supposed
to be derived from the protection of that divinity.*
The representation of river gods occurs on several coins
of Sicily, of Magna Gra3cia, and occasionally on coins of
other places.
The head, a coin of Catanea,t in the collection of Lord
Northwick, accompanied by aquatic symbols, a fish and a
prawn, is that of the river deity Amenanus. The Ame-
nanus, or Amenas, as Pindar calls this river, still flows
through the modern Catana, and its present name is
Giudicella. The reverse of this beautiful coin is the
common Sicilian type, the quadriga, with KATANAIHN
(CATANAION), of the Catanians. On other coins of Catana,
there is a bull on the reverse, which is supposed also to
represent the river Amenanus. The figure of a bull
was frequently used to symbolise a rapid stream first, ;

perhaps, by the poetic imagination of Homer, who likened

a bull to a river, when, in describing the conflict between
the river deity, Scamander, J with Achilles, he said of the
former, that he roared like a bull, /UC/AUKO* ^re raipos. The
idea was afterwards amplified by other poets, and perhaps
led to the fable of the combat of Hercules with the river-god
Achelous, the latter changing himself into a bull, in whicli
form he was conquered, losing one of his horns. Not only
does the roaring of the bull suggest to the imagination

* Adescription of the coins of the kings of Syracuse will be found among

the regal Coins. f Coins of Sardis, plate 1.
The Scamander, as is well known, flowed through the plains of Troy j
and when Xerxes passed over that famous plain on his way to invade Greece,
the Persian hordes are said by contemporary historians to have drunk it dry.

the roar of an impetuous torrent, but the impetuosity of the

attack of the bull, carrying all before it, suggests the power
of rushing waters. When intended as the symbol of a
river, the bull is generally accompanied by some aquatic
emblem, as a fish, a shrimp, a shell, &c.
The annexed woodcut represents a coin of Camarina in
Sicily. Camarina was a colony on the south coast of Sicily,

founded by the Syracusans, about 600 B.C., destroyed by

them in the 57th Olympiad, and rebuilt in the 82d. The
beautiful coins attest that Camarina was once great and
opulent. Near the town was a lake, and through the lake
the river Hipparis flowed into the sea immediately to the

eastward flowed another river, the Oanus. Hipparis is sup-

posed to be personified by the youthful head, with the bud-
ding horns of a bull on the present coin is a corroboration

of what has been said upon the subject of that symbol in the
description of the preceding coin. The bordering round
this beautiful head is formed of the well-known Greek
pattern, used to indicate water, which beautifully expresses
the curling and breaking into foam of a succession of small
The meaning of this border in the present instance is
placed beyond a doubt by the treatment of the water
beneath the swan on the reverse of this coin. The beautiful
female figure, gracefully forming a sail with a mantle, is
either the nymph of the river Oanus, or Leda the children

of Leda (the Dioscuri) being venerated in. several parts of

No. 9, Plate V., is a coin of Gelas. The coinage of the
Greek city of Gelas, in Sicily, affords us an example of one of
the most remarkable types found on Greek coins, that of the
human-headed bull. This type is also found on coins of

Acarnania, a province of Greecej in which case it personifies

the river Achelous, which separates Acarnania from ./Etolia.
The same type occurs on the coins of the Greco-Italic city
of Neapolis (the modern Naples), and may perhaps have
been brought to Italy by the Achaian colonies, as we learn
from coins of Caulonia that games were established in Italy
in honour of the Greek river deity, Achelous. That it
reached Europe from the East originally, is rendered probable
by the recently discovered sculptures of Nimroud and
Khorsabad, and in the East it probably signified the union
of intellect and strength * the human head symbolising

intellect, the body of the bull strength. In the East the

same myth appears to be occasionally expressed by the
figure of a lion with a human head. The lion overcoming the
bull on Persian sculptures, and on the coins of Acanthus, is
supposed by some to symbolise the sun or heat (in the form
of the lion) overcoming the damps of the earth, represented
in the bull. When it occurs on Greek coins it generally
symbolises a river, which, however, is more commonly
expressed by the simple figure of a bull, to be alluded to in
the description of the next coin. In the present instance it
is doubtless a
personification of the river Gelas, which
flowed close to the city, and is a pleasing example of the
best manner of the Archaic period. The reverse bears the
figure common to early Syracusan coins, and although of a
somewhat archaic character of workmanship, is yet sharply
and pleasingly modelled, and is interesting as showing the
transition from the stiffest archaic towards the freedom
of the high school which succeeded it.
Among Sicilian coins issued during the finest period of
art, those of Agrigentum must not be passed over without
notice, being second only to those of Syracuse. This
city was built upon the river Acragas, so called probably
from abounding in crabs, xP a y^ v from which circumstance

the crab, being perhaps at an early period made sacred

to the river deity, became the principal type of the
money of this city, and was never discontinued, either as
principal or secondary, among the types of the national coin.
The ancient name of the city was the same as that of the
river, Acragas, but became eventually Agrigentum, or rather

* In Lord Northwick's collection. See Dr. Ncehden.


Acragentum. Acragentum, was originally built on Mount

Acragas and the existing ruins near the modern city of

Girgenti, attest its ancient extent and splendour. On coins

of this city, of the fine period, the obverse is generally an
eagle destroying a hare, a type which has been very variously
The monster Scylla, symbolising the well-known dangers
of the strait between Italy and Sicily, occupies one side of
a remarkable coin of Agrigentum, in the collection of Lord
North wick and this figure well accords with the description

of Virgil. Between each of the dolphins' tails appear inter-

mediate heads of wolves, the noise of the monster being
said to resemble the barking of dogs or howliug of wolves.
The crab, a production of the Italian and Sicilian seas, is
frequently found forming one of the minor types of other
maritime towns of the island; but seldom as a principal
one, except on the money of Agrigentum.
The eagles and the hare of Agrigentum coins have been
supposed to symbolise the victory of the Sicilian chiefs,
Gelo and Theron, over the Carthaginians and Anaxilaus
the tyrant of Messina, which latter had chosen the hare as
his ensign. Others suppose the eagles (birds of Jove) to
represent the god in a double form, as divine and human ;

and that the hare is Proserpine.

Other Greek towns of Sicily have issued coins nearly
equal to those of Syracuse and Agrigentum, but it would be
impossible to particularise them all in the space which I can
here allot to this branch of the subject.


The coins of Carthage have not been referred to in fol-
lowing the course of progress of primitive coinage and its
subsequent gradual improvement, as there is no evidence
that the Carthaginians coined money previous to their close
neighbourhood with the Grecian colonists of Sicily. The
coinage of Carthage, therefore, belongs only to the period
when the art was fully developed. Carthaginian money is
so closely connected with that of Sicily, in consequence of
the extensive colonies of Carthage in the northern portion of

the island, especially that of Panormus, the modern Palermo,

that it appears more convenient to describe it here than
when referring to Africa, where no fine autonomous coins
are found, except those of Cyrene. It has been thought
that the entire coinage of Carthage was executed by Greek
artists in their Sicilian colonies but the latest opinions of

numismatists are in favour of supposing most of the coins

with Punic inscriptions, to have been struck in Africa, as
there would have been no difficulty in obtaining Greek
artists to execute them there ;
and as it is well known that
the architecture of Carthage itself was equal to that of Greek
cities, and possibly in great part the work of Greek archi-
tects. It seems more natural, therefore, to class the coins
on which Greek inscriptions accompany Carthaginian types,
as coins struck in Carthaginian Sicily and such as bear

Punic inscriptions only, as being really struck at Carthage ;

whether by native or Greek artists is unimportant.
No. 10, Plate V., is a Carthaginian coin, which, from
the beauty of its workmanship, has been considered un-
doubtedly attributable to a Greek artist, and it is classed
with the coins of Panormus, although the Punic characters
do not appear to indicate that city: it may, therefore,
with equal probability, be considered the work of a Greek or
Sicilian artist in Africa.
To understand the nature of the Carthaginian types it is
necessary to remember the tradition of the foundation of
the city, alluded to by Yirgil and Silius Italicus. It is
related that the shipwrecked and fugitive Phoenicians,
accompanied by their queen, Dido, when digging the
foundation of the city which was to become their African
home, discovered the branch of a palm-tree and the head of a
horse. These were considered good omens, and the word signi-

fying the head of a horse, Cacabe, in the Punic tongue, was

possibly adopted as the name of the future city, Cacabe being
described by some authors as the native name of Carthage.
Thus the palm-tree and the head of a horse became sacred
symbols in Carthage, and were consequently adopted as
monetary types, according to the custom of the Greeks,
their predecessors in the practice of coming money. On
the present coin, the head, which has none of the attributes
of a Grecian divinity, may perhaps be considered as the

idealised portrait of Dido, wearing a Phoenician head-dress,

somewhat similar in character to the 'Phrygian cap, which is
the more probable, as the enriched ban'dlet or fillet would
naturally suggest its being a regal portrait, and the period
(as shown by the fabrication of the coin) is one at which
similar impersonations were occasionally adopted on the :

reverse the lion replaces the more usual and earlier type of
the horse, bat the palm-tree is still present. The Punic
inscription beneath has not been explained.
M. Pellerin, and M. Bayer in his work De la Lengua de
los Fenice, decypher the Punic inscription of the fine coin

engraved below in the following manner :

M. Pellerin says, If the second letter * is a Koph, as
those have pretended who decyphered the Phrenician in-
scription of. the coins of Corcyra beginning with the same
character, then, reckoning the first a Beth, which is often
a servile or merely prefixed letter, the second a Koph (K),
the third a Eesch (E), the fourth a Koph (K), and the fifth
a Thau (TH), we obtain the Hebrew np1p3, which, the
prefix Beth being silent, gives the equivalent to Karkath,
which he considers may have been the Punic name of the
city, made by the Greeks, KapKadw (Karkad5n), only
changing Thau (equivalent to T) into the Greek Delta
(D), to soften the pronunciation, according to their
custom. The Latins, on the other hand, he considers,
may at first have transposed the Koph (K) and the Thaw
(TH), and thus have made Karthac, from which the tran-
sition to the more latin form, Karthago,is easy. To understand

* These must always be read from

inscriptions right to left.

the foregoing explanation of this Punic inscription, it will

be necessary for the student to recollect that the vowels
are suppressed, and thus, in reading the word in Roman
characters, and suppressing the prefixed Beth altogether,
he will have to supply the vowels, by which means, and
reading from right to left, he will Ty-p/ ^"^sT CT (
obtain the following result. JIJt
M. Bayer gives a different interpretation so different,

that the student may thence infer how far philologists have
yet advanced in decyphering Punic inscriptions.
The first letter, says the Spanish savant, is a Hebrew JBetJi,
H (B), as acknowledged by all archeologists ;
the second,
M. Bayer reads as different to the fourth, though it appears
the same on the coin, but he perceives a slight difference,
enough to make him consider it equivalent to the Hebrew ;

the third he considers, with others, equivalent to the Hebrew

Resch the fourth he esteems a Tsade and the fifth, as
; ;

other antiquaries, a Thau. He thus succeeds in obtaining

the word Birtsath, read from right to left, supplying the
vowel a as follows, the Ts being in the original expressed in
a single character, as in the Hebrew, -rj /
^ lOT^a VCT
This interpretation has the advantage &*^<7#L X CL
of restoring a value to the first letter; but the strained
interpretation of the second, which appears decidedly the
same as the fourth on the coin, renders it like the former,
open to grave suspicion.
It nevertheless, very ingenious, and (though not in the

right way) the author may have stumbled on the real

meaning of the word. For the Byrsa was, as is well
known, the upper portion or citadel of Carthage, the
Acropolis in short, which, like that of Athens, was the
nucleus from which the city afterwards spread out in
increasing suburbs. As in Athens, where, as we learn from
ancient authors that the weights connected with the coinage
were kept with great care in the Acropolis, so the Byrsa
of Carthage may have been the seat of the mint; and
thus, if the happy guess of M. Bayer should prove true,
it will show what has long been
suspected, that the Car-
thaginians were not, as the elder numismatists supposed,
dependant upon a Sicilian coinage for all their vast com-
mercial, national, and warlike purposes, but had a national

mint established in the Acropolis of Carthage, where, if such

was the case, no doubt Greek artists were employed by
them in the execution of their coins.
The Carthaginian coins struck in Spain,at the fine Punic

colony of Gades, and other Spanish settlements, are of in-

ferior workmanship, but may be recognised by the types
and the Punic inscriptions. They are very numerous.


The earlier coins of Magna Graecia, as southern Italy was
termed, from being crowded with nourishing Grecian settle-
ments, have been described among the coins engraved in
Plate III; and it now only remains to mention a few
belonging to the finest epochs.
No. 2, Plate V., is a coin of Heracleum, in Lucania,
a province of southern Italy. It is one of many cities bearing
that name, as being founded by Hercules. The coins of this
Italo- Grecian city are sometimes of remarkable beauty and

the one here engraved is of that class, the head of Pallas,

highly characteristic of the finest class of Magna- Grsecia
coins, strongly recals the fine heads of a similar character on
the coins of Thurium. The chimsera enriching the helmet is
the monster Scylla, a personification of the dangers of the
well-known Strait of Messina, so vividlydescribed by Virgil,
and alluded to in my description of the coinage of Agri-
gentum. The reverse is a fine group, consisting of Hercules
overcoming the ]SFema3an lion, the inscription accompanying
which, KAA, does not seem to refer in any way to the
name of the city. This coin has, however, been attributed
to Heracleum in Lucania, on account of the Hercules
type of the reverse, and the style of art displayed
in the head of Minerva on the obverse, which is evidently
that of a Magna- Grsecia artist, while other similar coins have
an inscription, which leaves no doubt as to the attribution.
Attributions are frequently made in a similar manner thus,

a coin of Elea, in the same province, bears a very similar head

of Pallas; the reverse has a lion springing upon a stag,
without any other inscription than the letter A but other

coins with precisely the same types, and apparently of

the same period, have the inscription in full TEAHTIIN, " of
the Eletons" or Hyeletons;" leaving no doubt as to the
source of those with A only.
The coins of the long flourishing city of Tarentum, are
among the most numerous and various of those of any town
in Southern Italy ; among which, the fine silver didrachms
with the figure of Taras, the founder, riding on a dolphin, are
perhaps the most striking. The gold coins, with the noble
head of Jupiter, and the fine eagle on the reverse, are also
very fine, and a great variety of types might be cited.
The luxurious city of Sybaris, afterwards Thurium, has
left an exquisite series of coins ;
and Neapolis, the modern
Naples, the last of the Greco-Italic cities to fall completely
under the Koman dominion, furnishes such ample numbers
and great variety, that a fine cabinet might be formed
exclusively of its coins.
Some of the coins of other Greek cities of Italy, have
been mentioned in treating of the earlier periods of coinage.
(See description of Plate III.) But the coins of the Bruttians
must not be passed over, being remarkable as those of a
barbarous native tribe, who, after subduing some petty
Greek towns, so rapidly acquired their refinements and
knowledge of art, that they issued coins little inferior to
those of the Greeks themselves. They generally bear the
inscription, BPETTinN, of the Bruttians, or, perhaps more
correctly, Brettians. Their most common types are the head
of Jupiter, and the eagle, but just about the time of the fall
of the whole of Italy under the yoke of Rome, fine gold
coins of the Brettians are found with the Koman type of the
Dioscuri. For some time after the first subjection of the
Greek cities of Southern Italy to the power of Kome, a show
of independence was granted to them and even to the time of

Caesar, they appear to have continued to coin autonomously.

The coins, however, issued after the loss of their independence,
were principally copper, and of a different standard and
value to that of Greece, being portions of the Koman
^ES or AS, to be spoken of in treating of the Koman
coinage. They are marked with globules like the Koman
portions of the as, to denote the number of ounces (uncice]
that they represent, the as being originally a pound of
F 2

copper consisting of twelve ounces. The engraving below

shows an example of these Italo- Grecian coins of the latest
epoch, when Grecian liberty, and consequently Grecian art,
had assumed in a great degree a Roman character it is a ;

copper coin of Capua after its subjection to Rome.

The silver coinage of the southern parts of the Italian

peninsula became Romanised also, and the numerals XX.,
X., V., &c., are found upon them, denoting amounts in the
Roman silver standard, instead of the globules used in the
copper coinage.
This sort of semi-independent coinage quite disappeared
in Italy and Sicily after the reign of Augustus, and the Roman
coinage, with the exception of that of a few favoured Greek
cities, and a few semi-independent provinces of Gaul, Spain,
and Britain, became the coinage of the whole civilised world.
In concluding this brief notice of the Greek coinage of
the finest period, I may, in a few summary observations,
state in what manner this period of perfection disappeared.
In Asia, Macedonia, and Epirus, the regal coins after the
time of Alexander the Great, to a great extent superseded
the autonomous coinage of cities, and the gradual decay of
the regal coins will be found noticed in the account of the
coinages of the different leading dynasties of Greek origin.
In the states of Greece Proper a few fine autonomous coins
were struck for a short time after this period, but we find
even the Athenians coining under the protection of Deme-
trius Polyorcetes, and Mithridates and the execution of their

money gradually declined till the eventual domination of

Rome swept away the last vestiges of the ancient style of
art, on the Greek coinages ;
for although the Romans con-
ceded the privilege of coining their own money to many
celebrated Greek cities, both in Europe and Asia, such privi-

leged places ceased to coin anything but copper, and seem

to have been so influenced by Roman manners, that an
entirely new style of coinage arose, which, though not like
the old Greek, was yet dissimilar from the Roman, and
which will be found described in the Roman series, under
the head of Greek Imperial."

A List of some of the most Remarkable Types* found on'Autonomous Greek

coins in Asia, Greece Proper, Italy, Sicily, &c. &c.

MASSILIA (Marseilles), a lion standing in repose, the tail coiled up.

CYRENE, the Silphium, a plant growing in that region.
THASUS, Hercules on one knee in the act of drawing the bow.
MYTILENE, a lyre.
MITHYMNE, a boar.
CARYSTE, a cock.
CHALCIS, a lyre.
PHOCIS, a bull's head, front view.
AMPHIPOLIS, a torch in a kind of stand.
OPUNTIA (of Locris), Ajax, armed with a sword and shield.
LAMIA, a vase surmounted with a leaf of ivy.
LARISSA, a bridled horse stepping.
LEUCADIA, the prow of a vessel.
ACARNANIA, Apollo sitting on a kind of throne extending one arm
with a bow.
,/ETOLIA, wild boar.
ETOLIA, a hero leaning on a knotted stick, on one arm a mantle
and sword.
SYCION (time of Achaian league), a Chimaera, a monster formed of
a lion and a stag, or some other animal. And above, a dove
within an olive wreath.
MELOS, an apple.
NAXOS, a crouching figure of Silenus, holding in one hand a diota
or vase, and in the other a thyrsus.
CROTONA (Magna-Graecia), a tripod.
THURIUM (ditto), a bull in the act of butting.
SYBARIS (ditto), a bull in repose.
Amos (Thrace), reverse a goat.
ACANTHUS (Macedonia), a lion springing on the back of a bull; very
early coins of this city have sometimes the fore part
of a
bull only.
HYLEA or ELBA (Lucanian, Magna-Graecia), a lion overpowering
a stag.

* On late the
Coins, these types are most frequently found as reverses ;

head or figure of a deity occupying the obverse.

CARTHAGE, a horse's head and palm-tree ;
sometimes a lion and a
METAPONTUM (Magna-Graecia), an ear of wheat.
HERACLEA Hercules overcoming the lion.
TENEDOS, a double-headed axe, &c., &c.
CNOSSUS (Crete), the Labyrinth and other small types.
CHERSONESUS (ditto), Apollo sitting on the cortina, playing the lyre.
PREJESUS (ditto), a bull.
CYDONIA (ditto), a wolf suckling a child.
Cos (island), a crab and club.
SAMOS (island) by some attributed to Sardis of Lydia, a
lion's head, full face; and often on the reverse, a bull's head
in profile.
CYZICUS, sometimes lion's head full face, similar to the above ;
on early coins the winged boar.
TENDS (Cyclades), two dolphins and a trideiit.
ANDROS (ditto), a panther.
SYROS (ditto), a goat and an ear of corn.
MYARA, a tripod.
CORINTH, the pegasus.
EORYDICEA, a tripod.
MESSENIA, a tripod.
PYLOS (Messenia), a trident.
LACEDEMONIA or SPARTA, capital of Laconia, the caduceus of
Mercury and sometimes a sitting Hercules leaning his left
arm on a club.
PHENEOS (Arcadia), Mercury carrying the infant Areas.
STYMPHALIA, Hercules in the act of striking with the club.
TREZENE (Argos), a trident.
CHIOS, a diota or amphora, assumed at a later period than the
original type of the griffon.
CUMEA (.flSolia), a bridled horse, stepping.
CNIDUS (Doria), a lion's head in profile.
MYLASSA (Caria), a dotible-headed axe with a laurel wreath.
HISTIJEA, a female figure sitting on the prow of a vessel.
LYTHUS, the head of a boar.
MELITA, a mythic figure with four wings.
MESSINA, a rabbit.
% MILETUS, a lion and star.
NEAPOLIS (in Macedonia), a mask with the tongue put out.
PERGAMUS, an eagle on a thunderbolt.
POSIDONIA, Poseidon or Neptune.
SEGESTA, a dog.
SELEUCIA, the thunderbolt with flames projecting from each side.

SIDON, Hercules bending his bow.

SINOPE, an eagle holding in its claws a fish.
TAHENTUM, a youth riding a dolphin, also the cockle-shell.

TAUROMENIUM, a bull butting.

TRALLES, a serpent issuing from mystic chest, like the cistophorae.
ACHAIA, the monogram of Achaia, and a lyre with a wreath.

ARGOS, the fore-part of a wolf, more anciently two dolphins ;

later coins, a bird perched on a club.

AMISUS, the parazonium.

ANTIOCH, a ram running, the head turned back towards a crescent
and stars.
ARCADIA, Pan sitting on a rock.
GALES (and other Campanian cities), a cock.
NEAPOLIS (and Campania in general), a human-headed bull crowned
by a flying Victory.
CAMARINA, a swan in various positions, sometimes carrying a nymph.
CENTURISSA, a bird on a ploughshare.
CHALCIS, an eagle and serpent on a thunderbolt.
CYME, a kind of diota, or rather a jug with one handle.
DYRRACHIUM, the gardens of Alcinous.
ELIS, the thunderbolt.
FALERIA, the thunderbolt enriched with ornaments.
GORTYNA, Europa on the bull.
Assus (Mysia), a griffon beneath, a bunch of grapes.
PARIUM, a mask or full face with the tongue thrust out (a Gorgon),
also a bull and horse walking.
ABYDOS, a full face or mask.
ILIUM, Minerva with a distaff and spear.
SIGEUM, like Athens, an owl, sometimes side and sometimes full

TEMNOS, Fortune with her attributes.

COLOPHON, a horseman and a lyre, frequently a dog.
ERYTHR^E, a bow and quiver, and a club.
SAMOS, a bull, a peacock.
EPIDAURUS, a serpent twined round a staff.
CARYSTUS, (Euboea), a decorated head of a bull.
CHALCIS, an eagle with a serpent in its claws.
ERETRIA, a bull lying down.
ANDRUS (island), a vase with two handles, and a bunch of grapes.
CEOS (island), fore-part of a dog.
CARTHEA, fore-part of a dog surrounded with rays, and a bee.
CORESIA, a star or a bee.
PAROS (island), a goat and a star.
PHANAGORIA, a bow and arrow.
AMISUS, an eagle on a thunderbolt.
CHALCEDON, a lyre between two olive trees.
CARDIA, a heart, the fore-part of a lion, a lion and ear of barley.
THASSUS, a branch of vine.
-flScAL, an ass suckling a Chimsera.
AMPHIPOLIS, a trophy.
LARISSA, sometimes in the indented square a man overpowering
a bull.
APOLLONIA (Illyria), a cow suckling a calf.
AXIA (Locris), a thunderbolt.
THESPIJE, a lyre with a laurel garland.
ELEUSIS, a sow.

LACEDJEMON, a club and the inscription within a garland.

GAULOS (island), a tripod.
GffiNE (island), a griffon and a grasshopper.
SARDINIA, three ears of corn on one stalk.
OLBIA, an eagle with a fish, other and very various types. See
ISTRUS, an eagle with a dolphin in its talons.
ABDERA, a lyre, a griffon.
BYZANTIUM, a crescent and stars.
MARONEA, bunch of grapes, a fore-part of a horse.
MESEMBRIA, a crescent.
VELIA, a lion.
ZACYNTHUS, ./Esculapius sitting on a rock and placing his right hand
on a serpent.
ZANCLE, a dolphin, or sometimes a sickle, or as some describe
it, the semicircular port of a maritime town.

BRUTIUM, sometimes a naked warrior, the dioscuri, an eagle, &c.

CAMARINA, sometimes a lizard.
LEONTINI, a female figure holding two ears of corn.
MAMERTINI, a naked warrior with lance and buckler.
PANORMUS, a horse, &c.
SEGRSTA, a dog beneath a globe.
SYRACUSE, a winged sea-dog, a dolphin, a quadriga, &c.
ORTHOSIA, a panther.





THE previously described in this work have been

principally such as belonged to what is termed the autono-
mous class that is to say, such as were struck by republican

states and free cities, and bore simply religious or national

Regal coins are distinguished from these in numismatic
being such as bear the name, and subse-
classification, as,
quently the portrait of a prince, in addition to, and some-
times to the exclusion of, national types ;
as those issued by

the kings of Syria, and the kings of Egypt, along with

which may be classed those of the kings and tyrants of
Sicily, those of the kings of Bythynia, Pontus, &c.
Other coins of princes are classed with Greek Regal
coins (as bearing Greek inscriptions), which belong to the
decadence of the art, and extend to the fall of the Roman
empire or even later, as the Gaulish coins of the Bosphorus,
or second Bactrian series.
Coins, however, may have been issued by princes which
bear neither the name or portrait and, in that case, they

would be classed with autonomous coins, for want of intrinsic

evidence of their being Regal ; such, for instance, as the
coins by some attributed to Croasus king of Lydia, which,
as they only bear the national types of Sardis, must be
classed as autonomous coins of that city. But it is not
necessary to enlarge further upon the subject in this place,
as I have referred to it in detail in the chapter on the Greek
weights, denominations, &c., connected with the coinage.
Suffice it to say that the Regal coins belonging to the Greek
series are very numerous, and belong to widely different
epochs. Some belong to a period not far removed from the
infancy of the art, such as those of Alexander of Macedon,
and those of Getas, king of the Edoneans but the most

prized, generally the most interesting, and, at the same time,

the most beautiful, are the noble series issued by Alexander
the Great, and his successors, the kings of Egypt and Syria,
and the Parthian princes, which are generally classed along
with them. To these are generally added the Sassanian
series, although the inscriptions are no longer Greek.
With this brief introduction, I shall proceed at once to
describe the ^most important series of Regal coins in the
order of their relative antiquity and historical importance.


(See also Plate VI.)

This series of regal coins is, perhaps, more interesting than

any other, first, on account of the high antiquity which can
be assigned to its earliest examples; and, secondly, on
account of its containing the first great issue of gold in

Europe, that of Philip II., after he became possessed of the

gold mines of Crenides, afterwards called Philippi and,

lastly, on account of the magnificent and abundant coinage

of Alexander the Great.
Caranus, the first recorded king of Macedon, reigned
about the year 887 B.C., and was a brother of Phidon,
king of Argos, who is generally believed to have been
the first prince in European Greece to adopt the use
of coined money.* From this relationship between the
two reigning families, the art of coining may have been
introduced into Macedonia very soon after its adoption
in Argos.
The following are the successors of Caranus :
died 779 B.C. Thurimus, 767 B.C. Perdiccas I.
; ; ;
729 B.C.

Argeus,697B.c.; Aeropus,602B.c.; Alcetas,576B.c.; Amyn-

tas I., 547 B.C. Some unrecorded princes appear to have filled
the gap which then occurs till the accession of Alexander I.,
about 500 B.C. Some of the early Macedonian coins may
belong to reigns as early as Aeropus, and others may have
been issued by each of his successors; but as Macedonian coins
of this early period only bear the name of the place where
they were coined, and not the name of a prince, they cannot
be considered regal coins in the general acceptation of the
term, but rank, if they exist, as autonomous coins.
Alexander I. reigned from about the year 500 to about
460 B.C., and his are the earliest known coins bearing the
name of a prince. The celebrated tetradrachm, or piece of
four drachms, of this prince, engraved below, has been
previously described in Plate IV.
Alexander I. was the first Macedonian prince admitted, on
proving his Grecian descent, as a competitor at the Olympic
Games and it may possibly be in allusion to this circum-

stance that the youthful figure, bearing two spears and

leading a horse, was placed upon his coins, as the biga or
two-horse chariot is said to have been placed on those of
Philip II. at a later period. Alexander found himself com-
pelled to submit to the Persians on the invasion of Xerxes,
and joined their army but he remained secretly attached to

the Greek cause, giving information to the Athenians of the

* See iii.

disposition of the Persian general previous to the battle of


Perdiccas II. (between 460 and 454 B.C.) next ascended

the Macedonian throne, and reigned till the year 413 B.C.
There are well authenticated coins of this prince, which
bear evident signs of national progress in the art of coining
the public money. The obverse has a horse galloping, which
type appears to have
become a national one for some time
after Alexander I. The art is still archaic in character, but

spirited and in high relief. The reverse has the square

punch mark, in which is the helmet, with the letters FIEPAIK
(PERDIK). The interval between 450 and 400 B.C., is one in
which Greek art made enormous strides, and during the
latter portion of that period some of the finest Grecian
works were produced, though the Macedonian coinage did
not then attain to great excellence.
Archelaus I. (413 to 399 B.C.) This prince appears to
have been an illegitimate son of Perdiccas, and to have
succeeded to the throne by the murder of several more
direct heirs. But he was a prince of considerable talent,
and in his reign the Macedonian court became the resort of
some of the most celebrated men of the age. His palace
was adorned with paintings by the greatest artists, and the
great tragedian, Euripides, was numbered among his guests.
Socrates himself is said to have received an invitation from

Archelaus, but declined it on the plea that it would be

degrading to receive favours which he could not return.
Some of the coins of Archelaus have the same types as
those of his ancestor, Alexander I., and for reverse the
forepart of a goat, with the square punch mark. (See
No. 11. Plate IV,) Others have a head, wearing a regal
fillet or bandelet, which, if a portrait, is the earliest known ;

but this is, of course, very doubtful. The reverse of this

coin has a horse within the punch mark, and the letters
APXEAAO (ARKELAO). Between 420 and 399 B.C.
is the

period at which it appears most likely that the noble

* the Macedonian
Syracusan medallions were executed but ;

money does not yet exhibit anything like that perfection or

finish -indeed,
throughout all Greece, the art displayed on
the coinage was inferior in finish to that of Sicily, and the
square punch mark had not yet disappeared in Greece, though
the art displayed in many coins still showing that work is
very superior.
The small coin engraved below has also been attributed
to this prince.

Aeropus (from 399 to 394 B.C.) The events of this reign

are not sufficiently important to be recorded here but the
coins are highly interesting, especially the copper, represented
in the engraving, which may rank as the earliest coins of
that metal that are as yet known. On the silver of this
reign, a head, generally described as Hercules, appears,
wearing the forepart of a lion's skin, as a kind of hood,
a trophy of one of the well-known feats of that hero. This

See Chapter on Greek Art of the finest period.

kind of head-dress is well known from the abundance of

noble coins of his descendant Alexander the Great, on which
it appears. In both cases it was assumed, no doubt, on

account of the boasted descent of these princes from the

Heraclidse. On the coins of ^Eropus of this type, the
reverse is a wolf and a club other attributes of Hercules,
with the letters AEPO (AERO). On some coins, attributed,
on good authority, to JSropus, a head wearing the Mace-
donian hat or cap appears, while others have a head with
a royal fillet or bandelet, looking much like a portrait
which, if so, would be, as observed before, with that of
Archelaus, one of the earliest known.
Pausanias (from 394 to 393 B.C.). Though this prince
reigned but one year, there are yet coins in existence which
bear his name. Some of them have a portrait-like head similar
to those above alluded to, and others a horse. The reverse is
generally a horse, with the name Pausania in full (FIATSANIA).

On a horse, on one of the coins of this reign, the brand-mark is

very carefully executed, which would go to prove that such
marks had greater significance then than now. Arrian informs
us that the branded mark on the favorite horse of Alexander
the Great was a bull's head, from which it received its well-
known name, Bucephalus.
Amyntas II. (from 393 to 369 B. c.) The coins of this
reign begin to exhibit very superior art, and the punch-mark
of the reverse which is very faint, in the next reign entirely
disappears. The most remarkable coins of this reign
are, those having a galloping horseman, wearing the

Macedonian hat, for principal type, and on the reverse a

lion treading on a broken spear, with the letters AMTNT
These coins are finely designed and executed, and have
much of the simple grandeur and energy of the Phidian
school of art. Other coins of this prince have the Hercules-
like head, wearing the lion's skin which seems to have been
a sort of family t^pe. On the reverse of these coins is an
eagle killing a serpent,* probably in allusion to the expulsion
of Pausanias, and the restoration of the direct line of
Alexander II. (from 369 to 367 B.C.). It is uncertain
whether we possess coins of this prince ; but a coin, with the
Hercules head, and having for reverse a horseman, has been
assigned to him with some show of probability as also,

though on slighter grounds, some rude coins which are

more probably of an earlier period.
Perdiccas III. (from 364 to 359 B.C.) A coin has been
assigned to this prince, which has for obverse the family type
of the head of Hercules and for reverse, a horse, beneath

which is a club, and the name, as Perdicca (HEPAIKKA). The

total absence of the punch-mark proves that it could not
belong to the period of Perdiccas II. He fell in battle
against the Illyrians.
Philip II. succeeded his father Perdiccas III. in the year
359 B.C., and his accession marks a new era in the Macedonian
monarchy, not only in its political influence, but also in
that which more immediately concerns the present volume,
the Macedonian coinage. Soon after the year 356 B. c.
he attacked and took a settlement of the Thraciaiis, called
Crenides, from the springs (jepyvai) with which it abounded.

Introducing new he named it Philippi, after himself,

conferring this especial honour on the place as having put

* These are
copper coins.

him in possession of the gold mines of the district, the work-

ing of which he so improved, that, according to Diodorus, he
derived from them a revenue of 1000 talents, or 243,130Z,
a sum which most likely falls far short of their actual yield,
judging from the vast quantity of gold coin struck from the
metal which they furnished. Philip, after bringing nearly the
whole of the Grecian states within the vortex of his policy,
backed by his gold, was assassinated while walking in a pro-
cession at Aegae, the Macedonian capital, on the occasion of
the marriage of his daughter with Alexander of Epirus. He
had ordered his guards to keep at a distance, stating that the
good- will of all Grecians was a sufficient protection. But,
as the procession moved forward, a youth, named Pausanias,
darted from the crowd, and plunged a Celtic sword, with fatal
aim, into his body, in revenge, it is said, for an insult he
had received from one of the officers of Philip, for which
that monarch had refused redress. This event occurred in
the forty-seventh year of his age and the twenty-fourth of
his reign. Philip, though ruling over a nation deemed
barbarous by the Greeks, contrived, by a series of victories
and negociations, to assume the high position, in relation to
Grecian affairs, which had been the aim of his whole career.
He was appointed to the place of the subdued Phocians in
the Amphictyonic council, and, conjointly with the Thebans
and Thessalians, received the presidency of the Pythian
Games. Such recognitions of his Hellenic character were of
the highest importance to him in his great project for the
invasion of Persia, as the head of a confederacy of the whole
of the Grecian states, the means for which were in prepa-
ration at the time of his death. The carrying of the vast
project into execution was reserved for still abler hands
those of his celebrated son Alexander the Great.
The profuse gold coinage issued by Philip consisted of
staters and half-staters, which soon became known as
Philips," and long passed current in Greece, and in the
East, under that name, and have been occasionally found
in circulation in remoter provinces, even in modern times.
No. 1, Plate VI., is the gold stater of Philip II. It
has a laureated head of Apollo on the obverse, and a
biga or two-horse chariot, and the inscription 4>iAinnoT of
Philip," on the reverse a device which Alexander ridiculed

his father for having adopted, to celebrate his victories at

the Olympic Grames.
These staters were copied in Sicily with no other variation
than that of the inscription on ihe reverse, which became
2TPAKO2mN (of the Syracusans), and sometimes the addition
of the Sicilian triquetra. His silver coins, generally
didrachms, are not so finely executed as the gold, but are
yet bold and striking in general character. The obverse is

generally a well-executed head of Jupiter, and the reverse a

horseman, wearing the Macedonian hat, and the inscription
*iAinnor (PHILIPPOU). The horse is generally stepping ;

but there are many variations, and several other types are
found on the coinage of this reign.
Alexander III. (the Great), who began to reign in the
year 336 B.C., found the Macedonian monarchy in a highly
flourishing state. A great army existed, organised more
perfectly than at any previous period, while an aristocracy
had been formed by his father, Philip, which became a natural
support of the throne as being educated at the court, under the
immediate auspices of the monarch. It was among this chosen
band, selected by Philip from the leading families of
Macedonia, that Alexander chose the great men who became
the mighty captains in his Asiatic campaigns, and who, after
his death, founded vast kingdoms from the huge fragments of
his empire. His father Philip was as remarkable for his pro-
tection of the fine arts and literature, as for his success in
intrigue and war; and his admiration of Plato, and the
appointment of Aristotle as the tutor of his son, bear
sufficient testimony to the fact. The advantages derived
by the future conqueror of Asia from such a preceptor
cannot be over-estimated; and his capacity for holding
the reins of an empire, as yet unparalleled in extent, was
thus perfected for the cabinet, as completely as his warlike


talents had been during his reported residence at Thebes,

under the protection of the celebrated Epaminondas.
To follow Alexander in his successive subjection of Eg} pt r

and the vast countries of Asia, even beyond the frontier of

India, would be superfluous in this place most of the details

of that vast career of conquests being known to every school-

* The great story of the conquests of the Macedonian
hero, not only formed the delight of. the after ages of Greece,
and:. then of Rome, but passed, into .the middle ages as the
subject of one of the most popular romances of .that period;
the story of the siege of Troy,- and that of the conquests of
Alexander, being among the most attractive of those tales
of chivalry which formed the light reading of the age of the
crusades. ^ The -"Romance of Alexander," as it is called, of
course became, in the middle ages, an incongruous jumble
of miracles,' and magicians, and errant knights,' and enchanted
castles yet all founded,- with more or less accuracy, on
the great Macedonian conquests.
Vast numbers of coins were issued by Alexander both in
Europe and Asia and, in fact, their numbers w.ere such

that they, are still abundant, and a few shillings .will purchase
a genuine coin of Alexander the Great. Agreat quantity of
the existing coins of the whole of civilised Asia, were, then, no
doubt, recoined, with the types of the Grecian conqueror,' and
the Persian darics were, probably, converted by 'thousands
into the staters of Alexander. This transformation, no

doubt, accounts for the extreme rarity of gold darics, not-

withstanding the evidence that they were once so plentiful.
The coins of Alexander, struck in different places, generally
bear some minor mark or. type, by which -the place of their
mintage may be ascertained^as a small bee, at the side
of the principal type, on those struck at" Ephesus, &c.
Those executed in Europe may generally be distinguished
from the Asiatic coins, by a more high and bold relief, similar
to that exhibited on the money of his father, Philip
those of Asia are generally more elaborately and highly

finished, but! the relief less strong.

The 'gold staters of Alexander the Great; have types
entirely different to those of the celebrated staters of his
father; the ob verse bearing -a head of Minerva, and the

reverse a Victory holding a laurel wreath, and the inscription

AAEHANAPOY (ALEXANDROU), of Alexander." Sometimes
the Victory of the reverse accompanied by smaller types

(in the field*) indicating the place of mintage.

No. 1, Plate VI., is a tetradrachm or four-drachm piece of
Alexander, of Asiatic coinage the production, no doubt,

of some of those Greek cities of Asia Minor, which, though

long under the barbaric yoke of Persia, had lost none of
their love of the fine arts, which they still practised with
eminent success. The head on the obverse has been the
subject of much dispute, as to whether it should be con-
sidered a head of Hercules, with the lion-skin hsad-dress,
or, whether it is not rather a portrait of Alexander, in the
character of Hercules the latter being the opinion of the

celebrated Visconti, and the former, that of most English

numismatists. However that may be, the head in some of
the finest coins is one of the most magnificent produc-
tions of Grecian engraving, as may be seen by our copy,
though modern art can never perfectly realise the antique
sublimity of the finest Grecian wort s. The reverse of this
coin is a sitting figure of the eagle-bearing Jupiter, with
the inscription AAEHANAPOT (ALEXANDROU), and two mono-
grams that have not been deciphered. There are many
varieties of these silver tetradrachms, and of other silver coins
of Alexander, bearing the mint marks of several places, such
as a lion and star for Miletus in Ionia, the letters KOAO for
the city of Colophon, and MTPT for Myryna, &c. Some of
his coins have the head covered with the fore portion ot the
skin of an elephant showing the tusks, instead of the lion
skin, adopted, as some suppose, after the victories in India.
The death of Alexander occurred at Babylon from a fever
brought on 'by excesses of every description, in the year
323 B.C.

Philip III., Arrhidseus, half-brother of Alexander, was

appointed regent of the vast empire, the son of Alexander,
by the celebrated E-oxana, being still an infant but, as is ;

well known, the great captains who had aided in the conquests
parcelled out the empire into independent kingdoms for
themselves, which I shall have occasion to notice in speaking

* The
field, in numismatic phrase, is the plain part of the coin not occupied
by the principal figure or type.

of the coinages of the dynasties that thus arose. Though the

power of Philip Arrhidseus was a mere shadow, yet it appears
that he issued coins, with the same types as the coinage of
Alexander; those having the Hercules head with the lion-skin,
and the Jupiter reverse, but with the inscription *iAinnor
(PHILIPPOU), are attributed to him, though they were
formerly assigned to Philip II.
Cassander (315 to 296 B.C.), a son of Antipater, who was
left governor of Macedonia on the departure of Alexander on
his Asiatic expedition, succeeded, after an interval of anarchy,
in taking possession of the throne of Macedonia while ;

Seleucus eventually obtained greater part of Asia Ptolemy, ;

the states of Egypt and Lysymachus, Thrace, &c. Cassander


cleared his way to the Macedonian throne, first by the murder

of Olympias, the mother of Alexander, and afterwards, of
Roxana, and her infant son.
No coins of this unscrupulous usurper are known except
a few coarse ones of copper, which have the head of Hercules,
like the coins of Alexander, on the obverse, and the old type
of the Macedonian horseman on the reverse, with the inscrip-
the King Cassander." Haym, in his Tessoro Britannico,"
figures one with the same inscription, but* which bears on
the obverse a helmet of singular form, and on the reverse
the head of a lance.
Philip IV. (from 296 to 295 B.C.), the son of Cassander,
succeeded his father; but his short reign is barren in a
numismatic point of view. Alexander IV., sometimes called
the Fifth, in consequence of the infant son of E-oxana being
called Alexander IV., was a son of Philip IV., and exer-
cised ephemeral authority but no coins of his are well

Demetrius Polyorcetes, " the city-taker," (294 to 287 B.C.),
was a son of Antigonus, who, soon after the death of
Alexander, conquered his rival, Eumenes, and assumed the
title of of Asia.
King After many adventures, Demetrius,
by the assassination of Alexander, a son of Cassander,
obtained possession of the Macedonian throne, from which
he was eventually driven by Lysimachus. Coins, however,
exist of his issue, though his reign was short and the regal

portrait, now for the first time openly placed on the Mace-
G 2

doiiian coinage, substantiates the contemporary accounts

of the personal beauty and agreeable countenance of
. ..

Demetrius. The obverse has a fine figure of Neptune, in

allusion to his numerous naval victories, and the inscrip-

Kin% -Demetrius."*
'There is a fine coin struck by his father, Antigonus, on
the occasion of the great naval victory obtained by Demetrius
over Ptolemy, who had become king of Egypt. This beautiful
coin is a tetradr'achm, and has on the obverse a noble head

of Jupiter the "custom of placing the head of the sovereign


on the coinage; not 'having become customary during the

ascendancy- of- Antigonus."' The reverse has a most beautifully

executed figure of Apollo sitting on the prow of a vessel,



ANTIGONOU), "of the King Antigonus."
Lysimachus ^(287 'to 281 B.C.) Lysimachus, aided by
Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, drove Demetrius out of Macedonia
in the
287 B.C. Soon afterwaf ds; Lysimachus succeeded
in driving but his ally, Pyrrhus, and thus obtained sole posses-
sion' of- Macedonia, in addition to which,* he held all the other

European territories of the Macedonian empire. Having pos-

session of the rich" gold and silver mines of 'Thrace, he issued a
most abundant coinage in those metals, of beautiful execution.
The types on nearly all the coinage of Lysimachus are, on
the obverse, A a head with a regal fillet and the horns of the
Ammonian Jupiter. This head is stated by some to be the

portrait *of Alexander as the son- of Ammon, a title which

he had assumed. By 'Others it is considered that the

horns allude to the descent which Lysimachus himself -

claimed from the horned .Bacchus, and that the head is a

portrait of Lysimachus, notwithstanding its resemblance
to the head on the coins of Alexander. This theory is
supported by the existence of coins struck at Lysimachia,
a city which he founded, and which 'bear a -head with a
royal fillet, but without the horns which* appears much like
a simple portrait/ and yet resembles the heads on the "coins
above described. The reverses of the coinage of Lysimachus

* Some
assign the coins of this type to another Demetrius, one of the
Seleucidan kings of Syria. . > .

have generally a sitting figure of Minerva, supporting a

small figure of Victory in her right hand, with a star above ;

and the -inscription is BASIAEHS ATSIMAXOT (BASiLEOs

LYSIMAKOU), "of the King Lysimachus."
In consequence of the murder of Agathocles, the son of
Lysimachus, a war broke out between that monarch and
Seleucus, king of Syria and great part of Asia. These two
veterans were the last survivors of the great generals of
Alexander and when they met on the battle-field of Corus,

in Phrygia, where Lysimachus lost his life, both were near

eighty years of age, but had yet lost little of the ardour which
had been so instrumental in effecting the conquests of
Alexander. Seleucus, after the death of his rival, dreamed of
adding the European dominions of Alexander to those of Asia,
which he already possessed, and so uniting again under one
head the great Macedonian empire with, however, the excep-

tion of Egypt, securely held by the Ptolemies, and the extreme

eastern possessions, which had been abandoned but on his

way to Macedonia he was assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus.

So perished the last of the great captains of "Alexander,
men described by Trogus Pompeiusas, not only forming the
Greece and Macedonia, but of the whole human race.
elite of

Ceraunus, brother of Ptolemy Philadelphus, King of

Egypt Antipater, a son of Cassander
and Sosthenes,

elected by the Macedonians, held the supreme power in

Macedon successively from 281 to 278 B.C. Ceraunus was

early slain in repelling an invasion of the Gauls under

Belgius, and Sosthenes fell in an engagement with the
Gaulish invaders under Brennus. There are no coins of
any of these princes.
Antigonus Gonatus the son of Demetrius Polyorcetes,
then succeeded to the throne of Macedonia, and reigned
from 278 to 242 B. c., or, as some state, 239. * He was f

driven from the throne, soon after his accession, by Pyrrhus,

king of Epirus, who, on thus obtaining possession of
Macedonia for the second time, committed frightful ravages
and even violated the ancient tombs of the kings at Aegae.
By the death of Pyrrhus in the folio wing $y ear, Antigonus
regained possession of the throne, to"'be again driven from it
by Alexander, the son of Pyrrhus, but only for a short time,
for he at last obtained firm possession of the country, and

reigned, in all, The surname of Gonatus,

forty-four years.
is by some from Gronnus or Gronni, a
said to be derived
Thessalian town, where he was brought up but Eckhel

rather derives it from a peculiar piece of defensive armour

which he wore, supposing the ancient Macedonian term to
resemble the modern Bomaic yovaras. His coins are neither
rare, nor remarkable; they generally bear a head, which
may be either hio portrait or a head of Bacchus, poorly
executed, and on the reverse is a standing figure of Minerva
holding a battle-axe, with the inscription BA2iAEn2
ANTiroNOT (BASILEOS ANTIGONOU), " of the King Anti-
Demetrius II., son of Antigonus Gronatus (from 239 to
229, B.C.). No coins worthy of notice mark this reign of
ten years.
Antigonus Doson (the promise-breaker) succeeded his
brother Demetrius II., and reigned till 221, leaving no
remarkable coins to record the state of art in Macedonia at
this period.

Philip V. (from 221 to 178, B.C.), succeeded his father

Demetrius II., when he was only eight years of age. This
prince may rank as one of the greatest of any of the Macedo-
nian dynasty. But he had to contend with the now fast-rising
and far- spreading power and influence of Borne and at last,

after displaying the highest military abilities in a succession

of conflicts of various character, was, towards the close of a
long reign of forty-two years, so embroiled with the mighty
republic, that a decisive war became inevitable, and the
contest ended in the downfall of the Macedonian monarchy
under his successor. There are remarkably fine tetra-
drachms and didrachms of this prince, the art displayed
on which is better than any seen on Macedonian coins
since the time of Alexander the Great. They have
generally a fine portrait-head of the king on the obverse,
and on the reverse the club of Hercules, with the inscription
BA2iAEns *iAinnoT (BASILEOS PHILIPPOU) surrounded by a
wreath of oak leaves. Some of his coins have a remarkable
figure of Minerva on the reverse, the execution of which is an
imitation of the archaic style of art, adopted, perhaps, in close
imitation of some highly venerated ancient statue of the

Perseus (from 178 to 168 B.C.). Perseus had neither the

ability nor the courage of his father. He found himself
amply provided with a full treasury, and a well- disciplined
army, to resist the expected attack of the Romans but, ;

although the undecided operations of two or three successive

Roman generals gave him ample time to form alliances, and
arrange effective means of resistance, he fell an easy prey to
a new commander, JEmilius Paulas, who, on his arrival
in Macedonia, immediately gave a more vigorous turn to
Roman affairs.
It was on the 22nd of July, 168 E.G., that the final
contest took place, near the city of Pydna. The celebrated
Macedonian phalanx resisted for a time the attack of the
Romans, but giving way at last, the slaughter became terrific,
20,000 men being slain on the field, while the cavalry fled in
terror without striking a blow. Thus ended the celebrated
Macedonian monarchy, and the last Macedonian monarch
graced the triumphal procession of the Roman general on his
return to Rome, ending his days as a prisoner at Alba, near
that city, five years afterwards. The coins issued by Perseus
are nearly as good as those of his father, which they resemble.
The portrait head is well executed and the reverses, which

are also encircled by a wreath of oak, have the eagle holding

a thunderbolt, the type of the Ptolemies of Egypt, possibly
adopted in token of some alliance with one of the last of that
dynasty. Other coins (copper), attributed to Perseus, have
on the obverse a head, wearing a helmet, which has the head
of an eagle as a crest, and a wing above the ear, in allusion
to the fabulous hero, whose name he bore, while behind
the neck lies a sacrificial knife ;
the reverse of this coin
has the eagle like the one above described, but only the
letters B A. n E. for inscription, the initials of Basileus
and Perseus. A tetradrachm of Perseus is engraved in
Plate VI.






IT appears convenient, in treating of the coinage of short

dynasties, to form several series into groups having some
chronological affinity. Those series which terminate before,
or shortly after the time of Alexander the Great, I have
placed next after the Macedonian series, arranging them as
nearly in chronological order as convenient, but extreme

observance of chronological succession would be impossible.

My general plan, however, will be to leave such series as extend
greatly beyond the Christian era to be described last, so as
not to have to retrace our steps in order to notice a number
of coins of a comparatively early period, after having once
advanced deeply into the decadence of Greek art. The
earliest regal coins after those of Macedonia are undoubtedly
those of Getas, king of the Edoneans, and they will therefore
range first in this miscellaneous chapter.


These are very remarkable monuments, and no doubt

of equal antiquity with the celebrated coins of Alexander I.
of Macedon, always cited in elementary works 011 ancient
coins as the earliest to which a date can be assigned. These
coins of Getas, though no historical record helps us to a
date, the name being only known through the medium
of the coins under description, can safely be assigned
to the same date as those of Alexander I., as the mode
of fabric is precisely the same, which, when the districts

are near to each other, is a tolerably certain test. There-

fore they may be assigned to a period at least as early as
480 B.C. The coin of Alexander I. is the first example of
the occurrence of an unabbreviated name of a prince upon
a coin but that of Getas is perhaps quite as remarkable in

being the earliest example of the title of king ( BA2IAET2 )

being placed on the public money of a state. The two
curious and highly interesting coins which are here referred
to are both in the British Museum, They are of unusual

size in the silver coinage of any period, being octodrachms,

and are proofs of the wealth of this nation at the early
period at which they must have been issued. The Edoneans
appear to have possessed that portion of Thrace which' con-
tained the rich silver and gold mines of Mount Pangoeum,
Dates, Crenides, and Scaplse-Hylse the subsequent posses-

sion of which enabled the sovereigns of Macedon to subdue

the world, as foretold by the Delphic oracle when it directed
Philip to fight with lances of silver, while we find Horace
stating that the Macedonian conquerors forced the gates of
towns, broke down ramparts and dispersed armies, as often
with the ore of the Thessalian mines as with the Macedonian
phalanx. Herodotus tells us that the silver mines on the
borders of Thrace yielded a talent of silver per day.

Coin of G etas, king of tlie Edoneans.

These coins of the Edoneans exhibit inscriptions in different

dialects, showing that they were in wide communication
with different Greek states. One inscription is TETA HAHAN
BA2IAEH2, in the Doric dialect, and the genitive case and ;

the other is, TETAS HAONEON BASIAETS, in the Ionic dialect,


and the nominative case.^ The relief of the type is bold

and striking.
Coins of the Osseans, a people of a neighbouring district
of Thrace, have also the same types as those of Alexander I.
and Gretas, and are of the same fabric with a similar punch
mark and inscription on the reverse. The inscription is
O22EHM, an ^Eolian genitive for o22EflN.
B-ude coins of Amadocus, king of the Odryces, a Thracian
tribe, with AMA KO and a head of Jupiter, and on the reverse
a two-headed axe, are attributed to an Amadocus, a prince of
this region. Alcibiades speaks of the advantage to be derived
by the Athenians from the alliance of Amadocus and Seuthes.
This was previous to the battle of JEgos-Potarnos in 405 B.C.
A second Amadocus, however, appears about thirty years
later than the first, to whom some attribute these coins,
but the square at the back would almost justify its attri-
bution to the first, as may be seen by a comparison with
contemporary kings of Macedon. The coin has a two-
headed axe and a Caduceus on the obverse, with AMA KO ,

and on the reverse in a small square, is a branch of vine with

AHM, and o.
A coin withthe head of Jupiter on the obverse, and a
horseman on the reverse, a poor imitation of the coins of
Macedonia, appears to belong rather to the second Amadocus.
It has the inscription AOKOY. OAPISFTON.
Teres, anotker king of the same country, who appears to
have been dethroned after the reign of Amadocus II. by
Philip of Macedon, has also left coins similar to those of
Amadocus I. The type of the double axe belongs to
Tenedos, and the bunch of grapes to Maronea, to which
places the dominions of these kings did not extend, so that
their occurrence on these coins is not accounted for.
"We have coins of Scathes, king of a portion of Thrace,
probably Odressia, which may be those of Seuthes III.,
about 325 B.C. The former princes bearing this name do
not appear to have coined money at all events none has

come down to us. Those attributed to Seuthes III. are

* The
only doubt as to the antiquity of these coins arises probably from the
use of the H in forming the genitive notwithstanding which, the best numis-

matists give them the period I have named.


of bronze, with a head of Jupiter on the obverse, a horse-

man on the reverse, and the inscription SETGOT. fourth A
Seuthes appears to have reigned about 200 B.C., and his
coins have an eagle on the obverse, and on the reverse,
within a laurel crown, 2ET0T.



Scilurus, king of European Sarmatia, reigned in the first cen-

tury before Christ. He was a contemporary of Mithridates II.,
Eupator, and defended his dominion against that prince.
This prince appears to have possessed extensive dominions
in Europe, which reached to the Chersonesus, where, in the
ruins of the Greek town of Olbiopolis (Olbid), coins have
been found bearing his name. The obverse has the head of
Mercury wearing the pileus, and the reverse the caduceus,
with the inscription BASIA SKIAO, variously abbreviated.

Others have been found on the same site bearing also the
name of the city, with that of Scilurus and a queen,
Pythodoris. The coins supposed to be of his queen
Pythodoris, have a rude car or rather wagon drawn by
two horses on the reverse, with rrrOAOPiAO2.BA; and 011
the obverse a female head, veiled. ^
Scilurus is stated to have had eighty sons, and it is to
him that the well-known apologue, inculcating unity, is
applied, of the old man giving the bundle of sticks to break,
which, when together, resisted all their efforts but singly

were easily broken. Head of Mercury on obverse caduceus;

and inscription on reverse.


Patraus appears to have reigned about 356, and Audoleon

310 B.C. The last was driven from the kingdom by
Lysimachus, and his treasure being betrayed to the con-
queror by one of his officers, his means of resistance were
paralysed, and the kingdom ended with his reign.

The coins of these Peonian princes belong to a good period

of Grecian art, and their close neighbourhood to Macedonia
enabled them to procure good artists to execute their money.
Those of Patraus are remarkable they have on the obverse

a head of Apollo, which may be in allusion to the king's

name, Apollo being known under the name of Patrous, and
on the reverse a horseman riding over an enemy, in allusion
to triumphs over the Macedonians the inscription is

(HATPAOY) of Patraus.
Those of Audoleon have a head (a front face) wearing a
helmet on the obverse and on the reverse, a horse stepping,

very boldly executed, and ATAHAEONTOS.

A king, Ariston, is mentioned by historians, whom
Lysimachus pretended to replace on the throne of Peonia,
and others suppose that a prince named Eupolemus had
also obtained some portion of territory, and struck money
before the pretended restoration of Ariston, as coins
are known of the character of their reigns, with the legend,
ErnoAEMor. The order of the dynasty is supposed by the
more recent discoveries to stand thus :

1. Agis, father of Patraus, 4. Eupolemus,

2. Patraus, 5. Ariston.
3. Audoleon,
The coins of Lyceius or Lycceus, mentioned by Eckhel,
after having been excluded from this series, have been rein-
stated in consequence of the discovery of fresh coins by
Mr. Cousinery.


Gavarus, a Gaulish king of part of Thrace. The Gauls

appear to have invaded Macedonia and Thrace, in the third
century B.C., and to have immediately coined money after
the manner of the Greeks. There are coins of this Gallic
leader having on the obverse a laureated head of Apollo,
and on the reverse a figure of victory standing with an arm
extended, and the inscription BASiAErn KAYAPOT, and a
monogram. Gavarus was the second Gaulish king of Thrace,

and with him, or during his life, the Gaulish domination in

that country was overthrown.
After Gavarus the native princes appear to have regained
their power, and we have coins attributed to Cotys II.,
Cotys III., Sadales II. or I., &c.
Cotys II. was a son of Seuthes IV:, and was allied with
Philip V., of Macedonia, against the Eomans. Sadales I.
was nominated by Cicero. Cotys III! was the son of this

Sadales, who sent his son, Sadales II.; to the aid of Pompey ;

but was eventually reconciled to Caesar, and left his dominions

to the Eomans.
Ehiscuporius I. was a prince of a portion of Thrace, who
allied himself to Brutus.

Cotys IV. was probably placed on the throne by Augustus.

Bhiscuporius II. was a son of Cotys IV., and was killed
in battle.
Ehemetalces, tutor of the children of Cotys IV., became
king after his death, and coins may be with certainty
attributed to him, though most of the others are doubtful.
Those of Ehemetalces I. are the first which exhibit the head
of a Eoman emperor on the reverse, indicating that the
country; was tributary to Eome. Several princes succeed,
till Ehemetalces II., "in the year A.D. 19, in the
reign of
Caligula, who received the whole of Thrace from' that

emperor ;
a fact commemorated on his coins.
The whole

of this series' of 'coins and of small bronze,

is 'poor,
except the last, which is of large bronze and better
workmanship. At first, they have the head of Jupiter

or some deity on the obverse, and some symbol on the


reverse, with the name

of the prince either abbreviated or
in full. Afterwards, the portrait of the prince- supersedes
that of the deity, the reverse being much the same; Those
after Ehemetalces I. have the portrait of the Thracian

prince on one side and that of the Eoman emperor on the

The Zeus, or Jupiter-Labradaeus, -was worshipped at
Mylass, in the ancient capital of Caria, and appears to
have been adopted by Hecatommus, and perhaps former

Some of those of Rhemetalces have the curule chair sent by Augustus to
the Cotys, \vhom he placed on the throne.

kings of Caria, whose coins are unknown, as that of a

national monetary type.
Coins of Bhemetalces I., are the most interesting of
the series, some having the portrait of the queen, and
also of their son, afterwards Cotys V., celebrated in the
elegies of Ovid, who was exiled to his dominions. The
reverse has the head of Augustus, with the empress Livia,
the Capricorn in front being the horoscope of Augustus, and
found also on Boman coins of his reign.*
After Bhemetalces I., the intestine troubles caused that
part of Thrace to be declared a Boman province. For coins
of a similar character of the Kings of the Cimmerian Bos-
phorus, see page 1(33.


The early history of Caria is but little known, and we

have only Carian coins of the family of Mausolus none ;

however, can be attributed to Mausolus I., whose widow,

Artemisia was present, and distinguished herself greatly at
the battle of Salamis (B.C. 480.) Eckhel assigns a coin, with
the inscription EKATOM, to Hecatomnus, who may have been
a grandson of Mausolus I. It has a lion sleeping, on
the obverse, and on the reverse the Carian type, Jupiter-
Mausolus II. (B.C. 377 to 362), a son of Hecatomnus,
was married to his sister Artemisia, granddaughter of the
former, after the eastern custom. The devotion of this
princess to her brother-husband, raised the superb tomb at
Halicarnassus, the fabulous splendour of which has given
its name, a Mausoleum, to all subsequent structures of a
similar character.
So much taste and judgment were displayed in the
magnificent buildings with which Mausolus embellished his
new capital, Halicarnassus, that they are cited by Vitruvius
as a model of their kind. On the 'dedication of the tomb
erected by his widow, a prize was promised by that princess
for the best panegyric on her husband, and the successful
candidate was the orator Theopompus.

* There are fine large silver coins of Mostis, who appears to have been a
king of part of Thrace, about the time of Lysimachus.

Eckhel describes coins, with the same type, of Pixodarus,

another brother of Mausolus, and also of the Satrap
Mausolus II. reigned from 377 or 362 to 352 B.C. His
coins bear the head of Apollo, a finely-executed full-face,
on the obverse, and on the reverse a figure of Jupiter-
Labradaeus, wearing the pallium, and holding in his right
hand the bipenne, and his left the hasta pura.
Hidriseus (from 351 to 3 44 B.C.) was a brother of the
preceding, and reigned after the death of his widow Artemisia.
He cultivated the alliance of Artaxerxes, king of Persia. His
coins are like the preceding, but have the inscription IAPIEHS
for the reverse. These coins are of remarkably fine execution,
and show that the fine arts had attained the highest develop-
ment in Asia Minor at that period. These coins of Caria
are among the earliest regal coins of the fine period, pre-
ceding those of Alexander the Great by half a century.


A seriesof coins, about cotemporary with the Cariaii

series, is attributed toa succession of independent
of Cyprus. Evagoras, pretending to be a descendant of
Teucer, the ancient prince of Salamis, revolted from the
government of Persia, in the year 391 B.C., and established an
independent government in the city of Salamis, which he soon
extended over nearly the whole island. He was assassinated
in 374, and appears to have been succeeded
by his son
Nicocles. Pnytagoras, by some said to have been assassi-
nated along with his father, next appears.
the second Evagoras, to whom coins are attributed; ana 1

then the name of Menelaus occurs in the list of these

Cyprian kings but any attempt to arrange the chronology

of these princes with accuracy, appears to have failed.

Evagoras II. (about 350 B'.C.). The fine gold coins, attri-
buted to Evagoras by Mr. Borrell, the first to call attention*
to all the other names in this series, which were
unknown, have a turreted head of Yenus, with the imperfect
* Notice sur
quelques Medailles Greques des Rois de Chypre. Paris, 1638.

inscription EYA, possibly the beginning of Evagoras, the

reverses have sometimes a lion_or an eagle.
The lion belongs to the worship of Venus Astarte (the
head on the obverse), the eagle to that of Jupiter Salaminius.
Mcocles. A fine large silver coin, attributed; to Nicocles,
has the head of Venus on the obverse, and on the reverse
Apollo sitting, and holding a bow, with the inscription (in
Greek), Of Nicocles, King of the Paphians."
The coins attributed to Pnytagoras have, on the obverse,
a head of Diana and on the reverse, that of Venus, and the

letters FIN, the two first of the name, t This is a very

beautiful, coin.
Those attributed to Menelaus have the letters MEN behind
the head, of Venus.
No', other tolerably certain attributions have been made,
but the coins published by Mr. Borrel were all, found in the
island of Cyprus, and evidently, belong to the same class.
The first Evagoras greatly cultivated the friendship of
the Athenians and, in consequence of assistance rendered

them in the social war, a statue was erected to him at Athens


by the side of that of the Athenian general Conon. The

Persian usurpers of Salamis appear to have introduced
Eastern customs and Eastern neglect of art in the island,
while Evagoras did every thing to restore the ancient
Hellenic influence. This circumstance accounts for the
even execution of the coins, and it is possible the coin
described above may be that of Evagoras I., the abbreviated
name being, in most cases, a sign of considerable antiquity.
If this should be the case, then the coin described by Eckhel,
with diademed head, on the obverse, and on the reverse an
eagle, with the inscription, at full length, BASIAEHS EYAFOPOT
KTnpmN, might be assigned to Evagoras II., which would
complete the series.



Dionysius (about 338 to 306 B.C.). Coins having on the

obverse a head of Bacchus, and on the reverse Hercules
erecting a trophy, with the inscription AIONT^IOT (of

Dionysius), are attributed to this personage. Clearchus

is the first recorded His
prince, or tyrant, of Heraclea.
tyranny commenced about 366 B.C. after a reign of twelve

years, he was killed, and was succeeded by Satyrus, a still

greater tyrant, who had been tutor to his children. His
children succeeded seven years later they are the princes

named at the head of this article. They reigned at first

together, and afterwards Dionysius reigned alone, and
managed to escape the destruction of the great invasion of
Alexander, and to secure a peace with the princes who
succeeded him.
Coins of Tisiphoiius (359 to 353 B.C.), tyrant of Pheris,
in Thessaly. These coins have on the obverse the fore part
of a lion; on the reverse, fore part of a horse, with
TEi5i4>ONOT (of Tisiphonus).




To describe these coins, I shall have to retrace mysteps

to a period anterior to that of Alexander the Great.
At the head of these shorter series, the coins of the kings
of Epirus may perhaps be placed, not on account of their
universal excellence, but of the celebrity of Pyrrhus, the
knight- errant of ancient heroes, whose coins, struck in Sicily
and Italy, are many *
of them remarkable for their beauty and
unusual character.


The celebrity of Pyrrhus II., king of Epirus, has
imparted to the Epirote coins a more than ordinary interest,
though they are far, as I have said, from being an extensive

or fine series, with one or two striking exceptions. This

race of princes claims descent from Pyrrhus, the son of
Achilles, and Deidamia, daughter of Lycomedes, King of
Scyros. They also styled themselves Eacides, from the
name of the ancestor of Achilles, Eacus. The first king of
Epirus to whom history assigns a precise date is Admetes,
who reigned over a portion of that country at the time of
the invasion of Xerxes, 481 B.C. Amyntas and Alcetes
succeeded him, and the sons of the latter, Orisbas and
Neoptolemus, who appear to have shared the kingdom,
were contemporaries of Philip II. of Macedon, who
ascended the throne in the year 359 B.C. Olympias, the
daughter of Neoptolemus, was married to Philip II., and
became the mother of Alexander the Great.
Eckhel attributes a coin to Orisbas, which has on the
obverse a beardless head of Hercules, wearing the lion
skin and on the reverse the club and a quiver, with the

letters APIS the commencement of the name.


Alexander I. succeeded his father, Neoptolemus, and, as

brother of Olympias, was uncle to Alexander the Great.
He died in the year 328 B.C., six years before his celebrated
nephew. Eckhel assigns several coins to Alexander I. On
the coins which have been attributed to this monarch, the
most usual type is, on the obverse, a head of Hercules, and
on the reverse, some have a thunderbolt between two
stars but then there are other varieties.
The best known
examples have the bow and club, with AAEHANAPOY. TOT.
NEonTOAEMOT. (Alexander [son] of Neoptolemus.) Some
fine gold of Alexander have a head of Jupiter on the obverse,
and the thunderbolt, with name and title, on the reverse.
Eacides, a son of Orisbas, succeeded Alexander in the year
326 B.C. but no coins have been assigned to him by Eckhel,

who, however, attributes coins to Phthia, his queen, the

mother of the celebrated Pyrrhus. These coins have on the
obverse the head of a queen, wearing a crown adorned with
jewels, with the word *IA2. They have on the reverse a
thunderbolt, and the inscription BASIAEHS. IITPPOT., which
prove that they were struck by her son Pyrrhus, probably
after her death.
Eacides was expelled while Pyrrhus was yet a child of
twelve years of age, and that young prince did not obtain firm

possession of the throne till he was twenty-three years of

age, about the year 295 B.C., and was slain at Argos in the
year 272 B.C. His early conflicts with Cassander, his
expedition with Demetrius to assist Antigonus in Asia,
his conquest of Macedonia at two different epochs, his
wars in Italy when he came in contact with the fast rising
power of the Romans, his expedition to Sicily, his
return to Epirus after six years' absence, his siege of
Sparta, and the circumstances which led to his death, are
events too well known to require recapitulation here. His
coins are very numerous. Of those struck in Epirus, the
most celebrated are the noble tetradrachms, with the head of
the Dodonaean Jupiter on the obverse, and the sitting
Minerva on the reverse, with the usual inscription.
The gold staters, with the head of Minerva on the obverse
and a Victory carrying a trophy on the reverse, with BASIAEH
nTPPOT, are as fine as the staters of Alexander the Great.
Of the coins struck by him in Italy and Sicily, of which
there is a great variety, the following^ the most remarkable,
it was struck in the former
country, in the strong Magna-
Graecia town of Locri Epizephyrii, where Pyrrhus resided
for some time. It represents the head of the deified Achilles,
the reputed ancestor of Pyrrhus, on one side, and the nereid
Thetis, the mother of Achilles, on a sea-horse, on the reverse.
Under the pretence of the head of Achilles, we have possibly
the features of Pyrrhus. Thetis carries the arms forged by
Vulcan for Achilles, in allusion to the succour brought by
Pyrrhus to the Italian Greeks against the barbarians, as the
rising Romans were termed by them.
Alexander II., the son of Pyrrhus, reigned from 272 to
242 B.C. A coin is attributed to him by Eckhel, having
on the obverse a female head, clothed with an elephant
skin. This may be in honour of his mother, Larrassa, a
daughter of the Sicilian prince, Agathocles, who, after his
conquests in Africa, placed a similar head-dress upon his
own coins, as a personification of Africa. The reverse has a
figure of Pallas, with AAEHANAPOY.
He was succeeded by his son, Ptolemy, who, though
he reigned but a short time, has yet left coins. The one de-
scribed is assigned to him by Eckhel. It has on the obverse
the head of a female, with a crown of separate flowers, and
H 2

on the reverse an eagle in the field is a star, and in some a


crown, with HTOAEMAIO.

Pyrrhus III., a son of Ptolemy, was assassinated, and
succeeded by his sister Laodamia, or Deidamia, who was
the last of the race of Pyrrhus and soon afterwards (about

150 B.C.) the whole of Epirus was added to Macedonia,

which (167 B.C.) had been declared a Roman province by
Paulus ^Emilius, who subdued the last Macedonian king,
Perseus. A
certain class of coins, even under monarchic
forms of government, were struck without the name or
portrait of the sovereign, or even that of a privileged town.
Such coins generally bear the national name only; in the
case of Epirus it stands AHEIPHTAN (in the Doric dialect
for HnEiPOTnN) [of the people of Epirus]. They have
generally the head of Jupiter and Juno, the one profile
over the other, on the obverse, and are very fine and richly-
designed coins. To Epirus, the coins bearing the name of
Sorias, and having a head of Ceres for principal type, and on
reverse two ears of whemt, with the name and title of king
are attributed and the antique gold medallion of Mostis,

mentioned among the Thracian pieces, is also by some

attributed to Epirus..


As of a neighbouring country to Epirus, the regal coins of

most appropriate place here.
Illyria will, perhaps, find their
Monunius (about 170 B.C.) was contemporary with
Perseus, last king of Macedon. He styles himself king of
Dyrrachium and his coins have the ancient type of that

Illyrian city the cow suckling a calf. The reverse repre-

sents the gardens of Alcinous, with the inscription
BA2IAEH2 MONOTNIOY ATP (paxrjvuv) Money of Monunius,
King of Dyrrachium.
Gentius, another king of Illyria, or part of Illyria, of
about the same epoch (170 B.C.), has left coins bearing a
head, with the Macedonian hat and on the reverse, a ship,

with the inscription BASIAEH TENTIOT.

Other coins, attributed to Illyria, bear the inscription
BAAAAIOT but the epoch of the reign of Balleus is uncertain.


Lysimachus, who obtained possession of great part of

Thrace and Macedonia after the death of Alexander, has left
a great number of both gold and silver coins of the finest
workmanship. The gold are remarkably fine and abundant,
some being evidently quadruple staters.
Lysimachus appeared to have a greater probability of
founding a dynasty than either Seleucus or Ptolemy, having
twelve sons, and possessing, at the same time, the rich silver
and gold mines which had been the means of founding the
Macedonian empire of Philip and Alexander ;
but the
intrigues of his wife Arsinoe in favour of her own children,
and against those of a former marriage, eventually brought
about the conflict with Seleucus Nicanor, in which fortune
turned against Lysimachus at the battle of Ipsus, in Phrygia,
where this veteran of the armies of Alexander fell fighting,
at near eighty years of age, and several of his sons fell with
him, while the children of Arsinoe were murdered by Ptolemy
Ceraunus, his brother-in-law, to clear his own way to the
throne of Macedonia. His coins are more particularly
described in the Macedonian series.


Antigonus, another of Alexander's generals, for some time

styling himself king of Asia, has left many coins among

others, one of remarkable beauty, a coin struck in honour

of a naval victory obtained by his son Demetrius over

Ptolemy Soter. The head of Jupiter on the obverse is one of

the finest monuments of numismatic art of any period and ;

the figure of Apollo sitting on the prow of a vessel, which

forms the type of the reverse, is, perhaps, equally fine in
another style that of elegance, rather than grandeur. The
inscription is BASIAEHS ANTIFONOT.


is a remarkably fine, though not extensive, series of

coins and I shall, therefore, enter into some further details

respecting it than could be assigned in all cases.

Zissetes was the Persian governor of Bithynia at the time
of the invasion of Alexander. The route of the conqueror
left that province untouched, and Zissetes succeeded in
establishing himself in independent power, which the intes-
tine disputes of the great captains of Alexander (after his
death) prevented them from crushing. Zissetes may, there-
fore, be considered the founder of the monarchy of Bithynia,
though it does not appear that he assumed the title of king ;

but it is evident that the dates of the Bithynian era found on

that series of coins commences during his life.
He was succeeded by his son Nicomedes, who had to
dispute the succession with his three younger brothers.
Nicomedes I. (from 278 to 250 B.C.). This prince placed
his portrait on the coins which he issued, which is the first of
this series with which we are acquainted for, if his father

struck money, it was perhaps after the style in every respect

of that of Alexander the Great, as was at first that of Seleucus,
Ptolemy, and Lysimachus. Mcomedes also assumed the title
of king and his power appears to have been so far con-

solidated, that, after the example of many princes of that

epoch, he founded a great city, and called it after his own
name, Nicomedia, as Philip had done by Philippi, Alexander
the Great by Alexandria, and Lysimachus by Lysimachia, &c.
The site of Nicomedia was so well chosen that it soon became
a populous and wealthy city, and for six hundred years was
one of the most flourishing in Asia, and under Diocletian
was the residence of the Caesars.
The unique coin of the Cabinet of Vienna, is attributed
to Nicomedes I., rather than to the other princes 01

his name, because the metal is thicker, the coin without

date (common on succeeding ones), and the name unaccom-
panied by any pompous surname, as on the money of his suc-
cessors. The inscription is simply BA2IAEH2 NIKOMHAOT; the
reverse is thought by some to be an Amazon, by others the
Thracian Diana, worshipped under the name of Berosis.
Prusias I. (from about 228 to 183 B.C.). Zelus eldest ;

son of Nicomedes I., havrtig to contest the crown with his

brothers, passed a reign of twenty-one years in such con-
tinued turmoil of hostility, terminating eventually in a
violent death, that it is thought he had no time to issue a
coinage, no single coin of his reign having reached us.
Prusias, his son, succeeded him at the early age of thirteen,
and married a sister of Philip V., of Macedon. He is,
however, best known as having defied the Eomans, by
receiving Hannibal at his court. The coin engraved in Plate
VI. is attributed to him, and is one of the finest in the whole
Bithynian series. The Jupiter on the reverse, common to
this series of coins, is supposed to allude to the sacred games
Soteria3, solemnised in Nicomedia in honour of Jupiter the
The inscription is BA2iAEfi2 nprsior (of the King Prusias).
Prusias II. (from about 183 to 149 B.C.) was one of the
most contemptible princes mentioned in ancient history.
He is supposed to have poisoned Hannibal, who had sought
a refuge at the court of his father, in order to propitiate the
Eomans, and also to have aided them in consummating the
destruction of his cousin and brother-in-law Perseus, of
Macedon. But these were the least of his vices and he ;

died at last by the hand of his own son, Nicomedes II. His
coins, however, exhibit the same excellence as those of his
father, which they much resemble. On a fine series of
large and small copper coins, however, the portrait-head of
the prince is often replaced by those of Mercury, Apollo, &c. ;

and the reverses are different, but the name and title renders
their attribution pretty certain.
Nicomedes II. (from 149 to 191 B.C.). This prince bore
the title, or surname, Epiphanes. His coins are remarkably
fine, and in the style of the specimen engraved of Prusias.
Those attributed to his successors, Nicomedes III. and IV.,
bear the same portrait as those of Nicomedes II. j
but the

dates upon them render it impossible that they should all

belong to the same personage and there are other examples

of Greek princes preserving the image of their predecessor.

The dates on the coins of Nicomedes II., are 160 of the
Bithynian era ;
and on those of Nicomedes III., 205 and;

those of Nicomedes IV., 223 the only means by which the


coins of the respective sovereigns can be distinguished.

The last Nicomedes bequeathed his kingdom to the


Prusias was founded by Prusias I., of Bithynia, upon the

site of the ancient towns of Cius and Myrtea. The female
sovereigns, to whom coins are attributed, are supposed to be
of the family of Socrates, brother of Nicomedes III., who
had revolted against that prince. The names found on these
coins are the Queen Musa Orsobaris, and Queen Oradaltes,
daughter of the King Lycomedes. On the reverses,
npo^iEnN nP02 0rrATP02, " Money of the people of Prusias
on the sea."


Phileteres, a eunuch who governed Pergamus for Lysi-

inachus, revolted, and, obtaining possession of the vast
treasure of that powerful and wealthy prince, the principal
depot of which was at Pergamus, succeeded in establishing an
independent government, which, however, but for the rupture
of Lysimachus with Seleucus, which almost immediately
ensued, and in which the former perished, the small
monarchy of Pergamus would most likely have been crushed
in embryo.
The name of Phileteres, Kke that of some other founders
of dynasties,* was borne by all his successors, and, as in the
latter part of the Bithynian dynasty, the monetary portrait
also continued unchanged by his successors. The coins of
Phileteres I., however, are most probably those without the
title of king.
Eumenes I., Attains I., Eumenes II., and Attains II.,
* See
Arsacidae, &c.

occupy the rest of the dynasty but as the obverses and


reverses of the coins which numismatic ingenuity has attri-

buted to each, present but slight differences, no further
illustration is necessary, though some of them are of
remarkably fine execution.


The governors of Cappadocia, under the Persian sovereigns,

appear to have exercised the office by hereditary right, and
claimed to be descended from Cyrus, and, like him, of the
royal race of the Acha3menides.
Ariarathes II,, refusing to submit to the Macedonians,
was crucified by Perdiccas, the punishment in Persia of
disobedient satraps.
Ariarathes III. reconquered the country from the
Macedonians. Ariamnes, his son, succeeded him, who
founded a dynasty that reigned for 160 years.
Ariarathes V., who died in 166 B.C., is the first of this
race to whom any coins have been attributed. The coin
in question is believed to be unique, and is attributed
by the latest writers on the subject to him, instead
of Ariarathes IV., as formerly. Except this coin, and
those of Eusebius, the coins of this dynasty are silver
didrachms and drachms. The coins with the surname,
Philopator, are attributed to Ariarathes VI. Those with
Epiphanes, to Ariarathes VII. Those with Philometor, to
Ariarathes VIII.
Those of Ariobarzanes I. are distinguished by the name,
and the surname, Philoroma3us, (lover of the Romans.)
Ariobarzanes II. bore the surname of Philopator, and
Ariobarzanes III. that of Eusebius, in addition to that of
Philoromseus, by which his coins are distinguished < from
those of Ariobarzanes I.
Ariarathes X., dethroned by Mark Anthony, bears the
name of Philadelphus, which he* assumed after haViiig refused
to join a revolt against his brother, Ariobarzanes III.
Archelaus, who usurped the throne in the year 36 before
the Christian era, has left coins with the inscription
King Archelaus, cherishing (or loving) the country he has

founded." His coin bears the date K,* indicating the 20th
year of his reign, corresponding to 16 B.C. His title Ktistos
is supposed to have been assumed in consequence of his

having founded the city of Sebasta, where he resided. He

called it Augusta; in Greek, SejSoo-rby, after the Roman
emperor. At his death, the kingdom of Cappadocia, as an
independent state, ceased to exist.


(See Plate VI.)

At the time of the Macedonian conquest, Phrataphernes, a

Persian satrap, succeeded in establishing the independence
of Armenia. His family continued to reign in a sort of
tributary dependence to the Seleucidean sovereigns of Syria ;
but Antiochus III. replaced the native sovereigns by two of
his own generals, Zadriades and Artaxius. These satraps
became independent of their master, and several other petty
sovereigns are mentioned in Armenia, the mountainous cha-
racter of which was favourable to small territorial divisions.
Arsames is the first prince of this district to whom coins
are attributed. He appears to have been cotemporary with
the first Seleucidae. His coins have a rudely-executed figure
on horseback on one side, and a portrait on the other,
sometimes with the Armenian tiara, but without the lappets
over the ears, and sometimes with a radiated crown.
The next in succession are classed as below - :

KAI AIKAIOY, (of the King Sames,
honouring the gods, the just.)

tion of Armenia
n bverse

2 '
reign- I
THRIDATES, Reverse ' ' MEF .. MI0PA.. *IA .

ing together . .
J .

* The K is
possibly the initial of Caesarea, -where the coin may have been
} These coins bear the name of Antiochus alone, on which the portrait
wears a tiara precisely similar to that of Tigranes.

Next comes the celebrated Tigranes. "Whether a son of

any of the preceding does not appear. He was at all events
a son of some prince holding power in a portion of Armenia,
and was placed when young with Mithridates II., king of
Parthia, to receive his education, the Arsacida3 considering
themselves at that period suzerains of the princes of
Tigranes seized the opportunity of a period of revolu-
tionary troubles in Parthia to return to Armenia, and
subjugated many portions of the country, especially the
district known as Little Armenia and the last princes of

the Seleucidan line being now engaged in intestine quarrels,

he was also enabled to subdue the whole of that monarchy,
and he reigned over the dominions so acquired for many
years, until vanquished by Pompey after ;
which he was
compelled to restrain his ambition within the limits of
Armenia. On
coins struck by him in- Syria, soon after
his conquest of that country, the obverse has his portrait
wearing the peculiar Armenian crown or tiara, after-
wards placed by Marc Antony on some of his coins,
struck in honour of victories in Armenia and on the

reverse the celebrated group representing a personi-

fication of the city of Antioch sitting on a rock, from which
issues the river Orontes, a device which appears on many
Antiochian coins, and which is said to have been copied
originally from a celebrated work of Eutychicles, a pupil of
Lysippus, which was preserved with great care at Antioch.
The inscription is simply BASIAEHS TIFPANOT. (See page 134.)
Artarasdes, the son of Antiochus, was subdued by Marc
Antony and it was on this occasion that he struck coins

bearing the Armenian tiara as a trophy. Marc Antony

presented Artarasdes and all his family to Cleopatra, in
golden fetters and the Egyptian queen is said to have

exercised her power, almost for the last time, in ordering

the decapitation of Artarasdes immediately after the fatal
termination of the battle of Actium.


Though one or two coins have been assigned by high

authorities to the kings of Sparta none exist which can, with

certainty, be so attributed. The best known is that given to

one of the last kings, Cleomenes, but his name is not on the
coin, though the letters AA (L A) appear to render it pretty
certain that it belongs to Lacedaemonia but it is now thought

rather to have been struck by Antigonus Doson, after his

taking of Sparta, for the Spartans were always too jealous of
their popular constitutions to allow of the portraits of native
kings on the public money.
The coin mentioned by Eckhel, with the inscription
BA2iAEfl5 APEOS, attributed to the Spartan king, Areus, is
equally doubtful.


The noble series of Syracusan coins, and those bearing the

names of other Sicilian cities, were frequently issued by the
republican chiefs or despots of the respective states. The
great archaic medallions of Syracuse, for instance, are by
some attributed to G-elo I., and supposed to have been
struck from tribute presented to his queen Demarete by the
Carthaginians ;
while the later Sicilian medallions, the
extreme beauty of which (see Plate V.), has caused them to
be so much sought by collectors, appear to have been
issued during the reign of Dionysius I. but as they only ;

bear the name of the city, they are classed with autonomous
coins. In describing coins of princes I am dwelling more at
length on such as bear the portraits of the princes, a custom
not generally adopted till after the time of Alexander the
Great; thus, I must therefore pass rapidly over the fine
coins of Agathocles and Hicetas,* bearing generally, on the
obverse, the heads of Apollo, Diana Soteira, Proserpine, and
other deities. Those of Agathocles, have generally, on the
reverse, a Victory placing arms on a trophy or a thunder-;

bolt, and the incription AFA0OKAE2, with or without the title

of king (BA2lAE02).f
Agathocles was one of the most extraordinary men of

* There are also coins of Pheution, cotemporary of Hicetas.

+ The fine female head, in the head-dress formed of an
elephant's skin,
forming the obverse of a coin supposed to be the impersonation of Africa, \vas
struck after the successful invasion of Carthage by Agathocles.

antiquity ;
who from
the rank of a potter raised himself
to supreme power in and so great was his influence
Sicily ;

and wealth at the time, that he married his daughter to

Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, and his alliance was sought by
many of the most powerful princes of his time The coins !

of Agathocles seldom bear a portrait, and this is the sole

reason for passing so rapidly over the various types left by
him on his finely executed coinage. The engraving below
is a good specimen.

The coins of Hicetas have the inscription IKETA on the

reverse, with a biga for type. The advent of Hiero II., to
the chief power in Syracuse, marks a new era in the Sicilian
coinage, when the portrait of the sovereign was placed upon
the public money, after the manner of the kings of Syria
and Egypt.
Hiero II. reigned from 270 to 216 B.C. his first coins ;

appears to have been similar to those of Agathocles and

Hicetas, bearing national types, but at a later period of his long
reign, he struck money as above stated, bearing his portrait,
and is supposed to have struck other pieces in memory of
Grelo I.* Some of his coins have been attributed to Hiero I.,
from a difference in the style of the faces but in his long

reign the late portraits of himself may be very different to

the early ones and all those bearing the name of Hiero

are doubtless his own. There are copper pieces of Hiero of

the same size, and nearly as fine as the silver.

* Coins with the name of Gelo and Hiero were

formerly attributed to
Gelo I. and Hiero I. but their fabric evidently belongs to the later period.

I have not alluded to the early period of Sicilian history to which the reigns of
these princes belong, because no well authenticated regal coins bearing a
prince's name exist prior to the time of Agathocles, and none with a portrait
before Hiero II.

G-elo II. This prince is supposed to have been associated

in the government during the life of his father, and coins
bearing the name of Gelo, which were formerly attributed to
Grelo I., are doubtless those of this prince. He died before
his father.
Philistis was the wife of Hiero II., and the coins struck
in that reign, bearing her portrait, are remarkably fine.

Hieronymus reigned from 216 to 215 B.C., when the

islandbecame subject to the Romans; but several coins

exist of his reign, in the same style as those of Hiero*IL,

and equally fine in execution, both in gold, silver, fand

(See Plate VI.)


PTOLEMAIUS, afterwards surnamed Soter (saviour or pre-

server), the founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt,
was born in the year 367 B.C.,* and was the son of Lagus,
a Macedonian of obscure birth. Erom his paternal name
the dynasty he founded, is sometimes, especially in numis-
matics, called the Lagidae. His mother was Arsinoe, who
had been a concubine of the king Philip II., and by many
historians, Ptolemy is considered to have been the son of
that prince which, in fact, is the only satisfactory manner
of accounting for the early favour of Ptolemy at the Mace-
donian court. He became the youthful companion of
Alexander, and afterwards a sharer in his favours and vic-
tories, when the Alexandrian conquests were carried across
the whole depth of Asia, even into Northern India and in ;

the year 330 B.C., he obtained the high post of Somatophylax

(o-(Bjuaro</>uXa). It was Ptolemy who apprehended the
traitor Bessus and we find him. brilliantly engaged in the

reduction of Sogdiana, and in the attack on the fortress of

Chorienes. In the Indian campaign his services were still
more remarkable on one occasion slaying in single combat

the chief of an Indian principality. On the occasion of the

conspiracy of the pages, it was Ptolemy who, by discovering
their treasonable designs, probably saved the life of Alexander,
and according to a curious anecdote, preserved by several
historians, Alexander cancelled this obligation by, in his
turn, saving the life of his general; marvellously curing
a wound, caused by a poisoned arrow, by causing it to be
treated in a peculiar manner revealed to him in a dream.

* This date is Lucian's statement that he died in the 84th

disputed ; as, if

year of his age, be correct, it would make his reputed father, Philip, only 1 6 at
the time of his birth.

During the famous march through G-edrosea, Ptolemy

commanded one of the three principal divisions of the army;
and at Susa he was honoured with a crown of gold, obtain-
ing, at the same time, Artacoma, the sister of Barsine, in
marriage. He is mentioned also as accompanying Alex-
ander in his last winter campaign against the Cossoeans.
On the death of Alexander in the midst of his conquests
his half-brother Philip was nominated king, but this weak
prince was never more than the shadow of a power and the ;

infant son of Alexander, by the beautiful Roxana, being

eventually put to death by Cassander, no direct successor
to the vast Macedonian conquests remained ;
so that the
seizure of temporary power at the time of the great con-
queror's death by his most influential generals, became, in
some instances, the foundation" of powerful monarchies such :

was the consequence of the seizure of Egypt by Ptolemy.

He however did not assume the title of king until many
years afterwards, and then only in rivalry of Antigonus,
who assumed the magnificent title of king of Asia.
One of the first acts of Ptolemy was to put to death
Cleomenes, the former governor, who had amassed immense
wealth by extortion and plunder. This act not only gave
Ptolemy the command of vast treasure, but gained him
immense popularity with the Egyptians, delighted to witness
the fall of a relentless oppressor. The next step of the
prudent Ptolemy was to persuade Archidseus, who had the
direction of the funeral of Alexander, to conduct it to
Alexandria, the great city founded by the conqueror, and
the capital of the dominions of Ptolemy, instead of to
jEgas (or ^Egae) in Macedonia, the ancient burial place of
the kings of that realm thus making himself, as it were,

the guardian of the august remains. This event was com-

memorated on coins struck by Ptolemy. Previously to this
time his gold coinage had been like that of Alexandria he ;

had not ventured to depart from the old Alexander types,

the head of Minerva, and the Victory but he now issued a

gold coinage, which bears on one side his own portrait, and
on the other, the statue of the conqueror borne along in a
triumphal car drawn by elephants.
Eckhel and Mionnet considered this figure as that of
Jupiter, as it holds a thunderbolt. But M. Longperrier has

rectified this error by showing on high authority that at the

temple of Diana at Ephesus, Alexander was painted holding

a thunderbolt. While a passage in Callixines of Rhodes,
preserved by Athenaeus, states, that at these memorable
obsequies the procession was closed by a magnificent car
drawn by elephants, in which was placed a golden statue of
The previous coins of Ptolemy, though bearing the types
of the Alexandrian coinage, had the name of Ptolemy, but
without title one struck after the conquest of Cyrene, has

the inscription KTPANin(N) IITOAEMAI(OY) the letters in

parenthesis being off the coin.
Ptolemy was three times married, first to the Persian
princess Artacoma next, to the daughter of Antipater, who

bore him three sons, the eldest of whom was Ptolemy

Ceraunus his third, and last wife, was Berenice, who had

come toEgypt in attendance on Eutydia, the daughter of

Antipater. By Berenice, Ptolemy had a son, known as
Ptolemy Philadelphus. To this favoured son, the offspring
of his most beloved wife, Ptolemy determined to secure the
succession of the kingdom by associating him in the govern-
ment during his own life.
In the year 285 B.C., accordingly, he announced to the
Egyptians that he had ceased to reign, and that his son
reigned in his stead and this announcement was accom-

panied by festivities of such splendour as were certain to

make the measure popular with the fickle and pleasure-
loving people of Alexandria. The choice, however, proved
itself one of judgment as well as affection, and the Egyptians
had good reason to be grateful for his selection.
Previous to this period he had struck coins on which he
had formally assumed the title of king, see Plate VI., and
also the type of the eagle bearing a thunderbolt, which
became a sort of heraldic badge of the Ptolemaic dynasty,
the head, as will be seen on the examination of the coin
on Plate VI., is expressive of great mental powers and
great determination, and also of that prudence, to which
he owed the preservation of his kingdom, having on more
than one occasion declined the risk of a great battle, and
retired behind the Nile to await the onset of his adversaries,
who, in this strong position, declined the attack.

His son Philadelphia, on the assumption of the regal

power, struck coins in honour of his father and mother,
which are remarkably well executed. Similar coins were also
struck, as it would appear in their memory, as on these coins
they are styled EOI (Gods) the deification having most

probably taken place after their deaths.

The coins of Ptolemy Soter may be divided into five classes

First, those he struck with the usual types of Alexander the

Great, but with the addition of his own name secondly,

those on which he caused his portrait to be placed, but with-

out the title of king thirdly, those on which the title of

king (SatUewi) is assumed and fourthly, those bearing his


portrait with or without that of Berenice, which were struck

by his son. To these may be added, those with the title
Soter, which, as being greater than that of king, according
to Visconti, is never accompanied by the lesser title of
Basileus those struck at Cyrene, those commemorative of

the funeral of Alexander those bearing only the portrait


of Berenice, with a cornucopia, for reverse, which, with other

varieties, form the fifth class.
The foundation of the celebrated library and museum of
Alexandria, was one among the great works of the founder of
the Ptolemaic dynasty, which will ever secure to his name
an honourable place in history, notwithstanding some
(perhaps necessary) acts of cruelty, which form indelible
blots on his character.
Ptolemy II. (Philadelphus). The reign of this prince is
generally dated from the death of his father, 285 B.C., though
he had virtually governed the kingdom for four years pre-
viously. I have dwelt at some length on the establishment
of the Grseco-Egyptian dynasty by Ptolemy Soter; but of the
reigns of his successors my space will forbid me to give much
more than their dates, accompanied by the briefest description
of one or two of their most characteristic coins. Ptolemy
Philadelphus having married his sister Arsinoe, the widow
of Lysimachus, in pursuance of an oriental custom, intro-
duced through the Asiatic conquests of Alexander, became
devotedly attached to her, and founded and restored cities
to which he gave her name, and at her death dedicated a
temple to her, planned by the architect Dinocrates the ;

roof of this building was to be of loadstone, in the vault of


which her statue was to remain suspended in the air, without

other support; but the architect dying, the carrying out
of the scheme was found impracticable. Philadelphus
greatly increased the library founded by his father, and the
establishment of the celebrated museum was further encou-
raged by the invitation of such men as Euclid, Lycophron,
Callimachus, Theocritus, Aratus, Timocharis, &c., whose
talents he was enabled to appreciate, by means of the
learned education he had himself received from Zenodatus
of Ephesus.
The power of Egypt greatly increased under the second
Ptolemy he is said to have maintained a standing army of

two hundred thousand foot, and forty thousand horse; a fleet

of fiteen hundred ships, some of which were of enormous
size, and to have left the sum of seven hundred and forty
thousand talents in his treasures.
His coins are only distinguished from those of his father
by the more youthful appearance of the head, the inscription
being the same the surname Philadelphus never appearing

on the ordinary money, which is simply inscribed rrroAEMAior

8A2IAEH2, except on the reverse of the coins, struck in
memory of his father and mother, which bore his portrait,
and that of his sister- wife, Arsinoe, and on those bearing
the portrait of Arsinoe alone, which bore the inscription
<HAAAEA<f>or (Brother-lover) Some have supposed his sur-

name Philadelphus, brother-lover, to have been bestowed by

the satirical Alexandrians, in consequence of his unnatural
treatment of his brother, whom he caused to be put to death,
to strengthen his own title to the throne.
There are very fine coins of this reign, both of gold and
silver, bearing the portrait of Arsinoe only, especially the
silver decadrachms, of which the British Museum possesses
a fine series of specimens. The reverse of these coins is
generally the cornucopia, which is the generally adopted
type for the reverse of coins of the queens of this dynasty.*
Ptolemy III., surnamed Euergete (the Benefactor), reigned
from 246 to 221 B. c. He invaded Syria to avenge the ill-

* It was
daring this reign that the translation of Holy Scriptures into Greek,
generally known as the Septuagint, is supposed to have been made by direction
of the king, for the use of the Jews settled in Alexandria ; which it is said
received its name from the number of learned men employed.

treatment of his sister, and, on his return, brought back

above two thousand five hundred sacred statues, which had
been carried into Asia by the conqueror, Cambyses. It is
for this act that he is supposed to have received from the
Egyptians the title of "Benefactor." His reign was pros-
perous, and his death regretted. He was the last of the
great Ptolemies, the greatness of his race being confined to
the narrow limits of its three first representatives. His coins,
like those of his father and grandfather, have a portrait head,
with the regal fillet or bandlet and the eagle holding a

thunderbolt, for the reverse. The inscription is simply

HTOAEMAIOT BA2iAEfl2, and his coins are therefore only to be
distinguished from those of his two predecessors by the
physiognomy, which is sufficiently distinct. The coins bear-
ing the portrait of his queen Berenice, are also numerous,
and resemble those of Arsinoe of the preceding reign, ex-
cepting in the features of the portrait, and the inscription,
Ptolemy IV., surnamed "Philopater" (father-lover), as
some assert, ironically, from his having been suspected of
murdering his father, Euergete. He began to reign in the
year 222 B.C.; and one of the first acts of his dark and cruel
reign was the execution of his own mother, Berenice. It
was this Ptolemy, who, it is related, was -stopped by a miracle
when endeavouring to force his way into the sanctuary of
the temple of Jerusalem in consequence of which he with-

drew from the Jews of Alexandria the privileges they had

hitherto enjoyed, but afterwards, in consequence (it is said)
of another miracle, restored them to favour. The miracle
may have been a large sum of money, which the excesses of
the king would no doubt have rendered very acceptable.
Though the decline of the race of Ptolemies may be dated
from this reign, the decadence of art was not yet remarkable.
Philopater, in the midst of his debaucheries and crimes, still
preserved a taste for literature and the fine arts among ;

other evidences of which he dedicated a temple to Homer,

as a deity. He sought also to assert the naval power of
Egypt by the construction of vast ships, one of which, we
are told, was constructed with forty banks of oars. The
coins, however, of Philopater do not exhibit the same grand
style of art as those of his predecessors, and are easily dis-

tinguisliable, as the inscriptions have frequently the surname

instead of the title of king, as rrroAEMAior 4>iAonATOPO2.
There are coins, also, bearing the portrait of his queen,
another Arsinoe, but of inferior workmanship to those of the
wife of Philadelphus.
Ptolemy V., surnamed Epiphanes," succeeded to the
Egyptian throne at the early age of four years, in the year
205 B. c., and at his coronation, in 196 B. c., assumed the
title of the present and propitious god" (Theos Epiphanes
Eucharistos) In this weak reign the waning power of Egypt

became apparent and it was only through the alliance with


Rome established by Euergete, and since faithfully ob-

served that the king'dom was preserved by the aid of that
rapidly increasing power from the grasp of Antiochus the
Great and the King of Macedon. Epiphanes died by poison
in the twenty-fourth year of his reign and the twenty-ninth of
his age. His coins only bear the inscription FITOAEMAIOT
BASiEAns but the likeness to his mother Arsinoe, and the

radiated crown, first assumed in this dynasty by Epiphanes,

as a symbol usually adopted by princes taking that title,
cause them to be easily distinguished. When the radiated
crown is found on coins of this prince, the reverses have
a cornucopia, similar to that on the coins of queens of
this dynasty, previously described, but differing somewhat in

being surmounted with rays like to those of the crown. The

coins of this reign on which the crown of rays is omitted,
have the usual reverse of the eagle holding the thunderbolt ;
but they are easily recognised by the likeness of the portrait
to that wearing the crown, and both strongly resemble the
mother Arsinoe.
portrait of his
" "
Ptolemy VI., surnamed Philometor (mother-lover), was
the eldest son and successor of Ptolemy IV. and being a;

child at the time of his father's death (181 B. c,), his mother,
Cleopatra, a daughter of the king of Syria, became regent,
and governed the country with great ability ;
the conse-
quent gratitude, or supposed gratitude, of her son, being the
cause of his then receiving his distinctive surname, Philo-
metor. After the death of his mother, the incapacity of his
ministers caused a ruinous war with Antiochus, king of
Syria, who overran Egypt, and, but for the intervention of
Ihe Romans, would have added it to his own dominions.

Philometor, after this narrow escape of losing his kingdom,

became more energetic, and, in the disputed succession to
the Syrian throne, successfully assisted Demetrius, and
became so popular in Syria, that he was proclaimed king
himself at Antioch a dangerous honour, which, with the
moderation of character which is his chief characteristic, he
declined. He displayed similar prudence and moderation in
the disputes with his brother, aggravated by the interference
of the Eoman Republic and, if he may not be considered

one of the greatest, he may fairly rank as one of the best of

the Ptolemies. He was killed by an accidental fall from his
horse in Syria, after a reign of thirty-five years, in the year
146 B. c.

Many of his coins are easily distinguished by the inscrip-

tion IITOAEMAIOT *IAOMHTOP, which inscription is accompa-
nied by various monograms, and a date of the Ptolemaic era.
The obverse has his portrait, with the usual regal fillet or
band, and the reverse the eagle and thunderbolt, with the
above-named inscription. Other coins of this prince have
the longer inscription BASIAEHS HTOAEMAIOY EOT <HAO-
MHTOPOS (of the king Ptolemy, God, Philometor).
Ptolemy VII., (Euergetes II.) the brother of Philometor,
having put the son of the latter to death, married Cleopatra,
the sister- wife of his predecessor (and, consequently, his own
sister), to strengthen the title of his usurpation, and began to
reign 146 B.C. He is known as Euergetes II. to distinguish
him from. Ptolemy III. but the Alexandrians also bestowed

upon him the surname of Phiscon," (&VO-KUV, big-bellied),
from his unwieldy and bloated appearance. He afterwards
repudiated his wife Cleopatra, to marry her daughter, who
was at the same time his own niece an act which greatly

alienated the feelings of the Greek portion of his subjects.

His cruelties caused him to be dethroned for a time, and his
sister Cleopatra proclaimed queen in his stead but he after-

wards regained the throne, and, profiting by the lesson he had

received, reigned for ten years with some moderation in all,
twenty-nine years from the death of his brother Philometor.
He died in the year 117 B. c.
One of the most abominable acts of this tyrant was the
murder of his own son, Memphitis, at the time that his
repudiated wife was declared queen in his stead. This act was

committed in the island of Cyprus, where the youth had taken

refuge, and from whence he sent the head and hands of the
murdered boy to his mother at Alexandria, where they were
presented to her by an emissary of the exiled despot on her
birth-day. Such acts as this caused him to be further dis-
" "
tinguished by an additional surname, that of Cagourgetes
(the Evil), the fitness of which is but too evident. He was,
however, a protector of literature a characteristic which

appears to have been inherent in the race of the Ptolemies;

and in his jealousy of the increasing literary progress of
other nations especially Pergamos, whose kings were great
protectors of letters he interdicted the exportation of papy-
rus, which, as is recorded, led to the invention of parchment.
He also wrote some memoirs on natural history, fragments
of which have been preserved by Atheiiaeus.
There are good coins of the usual Ptolemaic types of this
reign ;
also of his widow, Cleopatra, who appears in a head-
dress formed of the head portion of the skin of an elephant,
including the tusks, similar to the lion-skin head-dress of
Alexander the Great. The cause of her assumption of this
costumeis unknown.

Ptolemy VIII. received the surname " Soter," and also

Philometor,"both of which titles he bears in inscriptions,
but he is still better known by his popular surname, La-
thurus (hadovpos), received, according to some, from a
wart on his nose. He succeeded his father, Phiscon, in the
year 117 B. c. He reigned, conjointly with his mother
Cleopatra, for ten years, by whom he was compelled to
repudiate his sister Cleopatra, and marry his younger sister,
Selene; for the Eastern custom of the monarch espousing his
own sister no other being deemed his equal was now
become a family rite of the Ptolemies. His mother after-
wards succeeded in expelling him from the throne, and
procuring the election of his younger brother Alexander in
his stead, who held the royal authority for eighteen years,
during which Lathurus maintained possession of Cyprus.
On the death of his mother, Cleopatra (assassinated by order
of her son Alexander), Alexander himself was expelled, and
Lathurus restored after which he reigned without inter-

ruption for eight years: in all, including his reign of eighteen

years in Cyprus, he reigned thirty-five years and a half, dying

in the year 81 B.C. It was during his restoration that

Memphis revolted and during its siege and final capture

by Lathurus it was reduced to the ruined state in which it

has ever since remained. He left a daughter, Berenice, who
succeeded him on the throne, and two illegitimate sons.
For some assistance afforded them, the Athenians erected
statues to both Lathurus and his daughter Berenice, and
the Romans applied to him without success for the aid of
the Egyptian fleet in the war against Mithridates, his
naval power, cultivated at Cyprus, being the greatest of
the period. On his coins he appears with a radiated crown,
(see Plate VI.) like that of his predecessor, Epiphanes, and
also with a trident, the emblem of his naval supremacy,
which renders the attribution of such coins comparatively
certain, though the inscription on the reverse is merely
riTOAEMAior BA2IAEH2 (of the king Ptolemy), accompanied
by the radiated cornucopia of his predecessor. The coins
of Alexander (who is styled the ninth Ptolemy, and who
reigned eighteen years while Lathurus was reduced to the
dominion of Cyprus), have also the simple inscription as
above, but they may be distinguished by a singular head-
dress. There are also coins of this epoch of Selene, the
second wife of Lathurus, Berenice, and Ptolemy X.,
(known as Ptolemy Alexander), 80 B.C. Berenice succeeded
her father for a short time, and there are coins of her reign
both alone and after her marriage with Ptolemy Alexander,
by whom she was assassinated. The coins attributed to this
Alexander and this short reign, are so attributed in conse-
quence of the elephant head-dress in which the regal portrait
appears, as is supposed, in imitation of that assumed by his
grandmother, Cleopatra. Alexander was put to death by
the people, in the year 80 B.C., in consequence of the murder
of his wife, Berenice, whom he espoused at the dictation of
the Roman power, under whose protection he returned to
tolemy XI. (80 B.C.), surnamed Neus " Dionysius" (NCOS
but better known as " Auletes (the flute-player),

was an illegitimate son of Lathurus, and succeeded to the

throne in consequence of the legitimate descendants of the
Ptolemies having become extinct by the death of Ptolemy
Alexander. He was expelled for his vices and tyranny, and

fled toRome, where by bribery he succeeded in enlisting

the interest of the Senate, Cicero himself pronouncing
an oration in his favour (pro rege Alexandrine). But the
popular voice was against him, and eventually he retired in
disgust; but afterwards obtained privately from Gabinius
(pro-consul in Syria) by an enormous bribe of ten thousand
talents, the support which replaced him on the throne, when
his first act was the murder of his daughter Berenice, who
had been elected queen during his expulsion. He only
reigned three years after his restoration, which, however,
completed twenty-nine from his first accession. He died
51 B.C. His coins have the usual Ptolemaic type of the
eagle on the reverse, with the simple inscription IITOAE-
MAIOT BA2iAEn2> without any surname but they are easily

distinguished for a sudden decadence in the style of art


takes place in this reign, and the portrait on the obverse

is not
only more poorly executed, but the metal of the silver
coinage much thinner, and somewhat in the Roman style, as
is the wreath of laurel and sometimes flowers,
by which the
portraits of this prince may be further distinguished.
Ptolemy XII., by some said to have borne the name of
Dionysius, like his father, ascended the throne in the year
51 B.C., and was married to his sister, the celebrated
Cleopatra, according to the directions of his father's will, the
execution of which had been confided to the Roman Senate.
But the civil wars of Ca3sar and Pompey prevented the
Romans from interfering actively and the eunuch Pothinus

having seized the reins of power, Cleopatra was expelled the

kingdom, and her brother reigned alone, a course in which
he was supported by Pompey. ISTevertheless, when Pompey
sought refuge in Egypt after his defeat at Pharsalia, he was
basely assassinated. On the arrival of CaBsar in Egypt,
which quickly followed, the attractions of Cleopatra turned
the scale of Roman power in her favour and her brother,

bravely, though vainly, attempting to combat the power of

Caesar, was defeated, his camp stormed, and he himself
drowned, while endeavouring to escape by swimming across
the Nile. He was only thirteen years of age, and this
occurred towards the end of 48 B.C., or early in the following
year. His coins, though bearing only the usual inscription,
nTOAEMAlOT BA2IAEH2, are supposed* by some numismatists

to be distinguishable by the ivy wreath, and other emblems

of Bacchus, in allusion to his surname, Dionysius (the Greek
Bacchus), which are not found on other coins of this series.
The portrait, with these accessories, exhibits also a different
style of face, while the workmanship is generally superior to
that exhibited on the coins of the last reign.
Ptolemy XIII. was the youngest illegitimate son of
Auletes, and was declared king by Caesar, in conjunction
with Cleopatra, after the death of his elder brother, in the
beginning of the year 47 B.C. His marriage and kingly
power were of course merely nominal, on account of his
extreme youth. He was carried to Rome by his sister in
the year 45 B.C., and after the death of Caesar cruelly put to
death by her in the year 45 B.C. Of this last of the
Ptolemies no coins are known, though he enjoyed his titular
sovereignty during three years.
Cleopatra was the eldest child of Ptolemy Auletes, and at
his death was seventeen years of age. After the death of
her second brother she reigned alone and on being sum-

moned by the triumvir Marc Antony to assign reasons for

not having assisted the triumvirs, she repaired in great
pomp to meet him in Cilicia. Here it was that her splendid
array in ascending the Cydnus took place, so minutely de-
scribed by Plutarch. She was then in her twenty-eighth
year, and in the prime of her personal and mental powers of
fascination, which soon subdued the susceptible Antony;
and we find him shortly after in Egypt, completely enslaved
by her fascinations. Bewitched," as Augustus stated to the
Eoman Senate, "by that accursed Egyptian."
She is said to have spoken seven languages fluently, though
none of the other Ptolemies mastered even the Egyptian ;

and her voice is described as being exceedingly musical.

Indeed, her powers of attraction must have consisted rather
in her accomplishments and manners than in beauty of
person for her portrait, as it appears on coins struck

during the residence of Antony in Egypt, would convey

the idea of a plain hard-featured woman of sixty, though
she died, in the manner so often described, in the thirty-
ninth year of her age, 30 B.C. (See the coin of Antony and
Cleopatra, in Plate VI.)
Of her children by Antony, coins are in existence
(struck in their honour) on which they are styled Kings
of kings," after the inflated oriental manner, to be described
more particularly in the Parthian and Bactrian series of coins.
Caesarion, her (reputed) child by Julius Caesar, was put to
death by Augustus. The statues of Antony, in Alexandria,
were thrown down after his death by order of Augustus.
The coins struck by Antony * and Cleopatra in honour
of their children are the last that can be classed with
those of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which became extinct
with Cleopatra.
This series of coins affords some remarkably fine examples
of the last grand style of art peculiar to the Greek coinages,
but is not considered so valuable in an historical point of
view, from the difficulty of assigning the proper coins to
each prince a difficulty, however, which the daily progress
in numismatic science is rapidly removing, for with the aid
of the dates and other peculiarities of the most remarkable
pieces of this beautiful series, they are now attributed with
tolerable certainty to several of the respective princes by
whom they were issued and some, such as those of Ptolemy

Soter,Euergetes, and Philopator are, beyond doubt, correctly

and finally assigned to their real issuers.

(See Plate VI.)


I HATE already noticed, in my condensed account of the

Macedonian and Egyptian how the Syrian empire
arose after the death of Alexander, and the wars concerning
the partition of his vast conquests in Asia. Among the
great captains who had followed him to the East, and shared
in its subjugation, Seleucus was one of the most famous ;
and from his great success in the intestine war which broke
out among the generals, after the death of their great

* The coins of Antony himself will be described in the Roman series.


commander, received the name of Nicanor, (the victorious.)

Like all other heroes of antiquity who have risen to supreme
power, his descent was soon traced by obsequious bio-
graphers to some god Apollo being selected as the proge-

nitor of Seleucus the Victorious.

It is well known that he was the son of Antiochus, a
general of Philip II., and his wife Laodice but Justin, no

doubt following earlier biographers, states that his mother

had a dream, to the effect that her child was the offspring
of Apollo; and a ring was found in her bed, bearing the
image of an anchor. The child, when born, was found to
be marked on the thigh with the same figure, which, con-
tinues the same biographer, is also found on all the true
descendants of Seleucus, even to the last of the dynasty.
This fable may account for the appearance of the anchor
as a minor type on coins of this dynasty, (if, indeed, the
type in question be an anchor,) and also for the head of
Apollo, which also occurs and under whose semblance the
Seleucidan race may have been occasionally pleased to appear.
On the death of Alexander, Seleucus was appointed to the
satrapy of Babylon, but afterwards driven out byAntigonus.
His recovery of that city, by the aid of Ptolemy, was the
first permanent
step towards the great eastern empire which
afterwards acknowledged his dominion, and to that epoch
the dates on his coins, and those of his descendants, refer ;

it is
generally settled by chronologers as October 1, 312 B.C.,
and the coins of the dynasty are generally dated from that
time, as that of the foundation of the monarchy.
I must, however, proceed at once to particularise briefly
the reign of each succeeding member of the dynasty, and
the coins issued by them, commencing of course, with
Seleucus JSTicanor, the founder.
Seleucus Nicanor, the "victorious," (from 312 to 282
B.C.) One of the remarkable acts of Seleucus, when his
power was well confirmed, was to send back to Greece the
ancient monuments and books that had been carried into
Asia by Xerxes, by which he secured the highest popularity
among the states of European Greece, the Athenians erect-
ing a statue in his honour. He founded above thirty cities
in Asia, and colonised them with Greeks, thus spreading
the language and manners of that country throughout the

vast countries of the East, even to the confines of India.

Among the cities thus founded was the celebrated Antiochia,
named after his father Antiochus. He was assassinated by
his brother-in-law, Ptolemy Ceraunus, during his advance to
take possession of Macedonia.*
The coins of Seleucus have, at first, the same types as
those of Alexander the Great, but with the simple name,
without title, of Seleucus and, as usual, in the genitive case.

He afterwards assumed the title of Basileus (king), and coins

occur on which a head, supposed to be a portrait, occurs; such
as that on the rare tetradrachm, in which the horn and
wing upon the helmet, common attributes of the statues of
Seleucus, render it most probable that it is an absolute
portrait. The bull's horn was adopted, as Suidas relates,
from the circumstance of Seleucus having overpowered a bull
which had escaped from a sacrifice performing by Alexander.t
This coin is extremely rare, only three or four being known ;

one, much worn, is in the British Museum, and another, in

very much finer preservation, in the Bank of England.
An unique gold coin, as also a head of this character with
the bull's horn, but without the helmet, and which Haym, in
his Tesoro Britannico," describes as then in the Devonshire
Collection. (See Plate VI.)
Other coins of Seleucus have the figure of a bull for the
principal type of the reverse, especially a large copper coin,
the obverse of which has the head and lion's skin, like the
coins of Alexander, but with the addition of wings behind
the ears. The heads on the early coins of Seleucus, of the
Alexander types, with the lion's skin, are by some thought
also to be portraits but this is mere conjecture, without

much foundation. Those, however, with that device are the

most numerous of his coins, especially those with the addition
of the title "Basileus" to the name, which stands thus:
Some of his coins differ altogether from the above, except
in the inscription, and have a head of Jupiter on the obverse,

* See Macedonian series.

f A Selenes tradunt, cum Alexandrum immolantem taurus effugisset,
bestiam cornibus prehensam esse retractam ; eaque de causa capiti statuse ejus
addi cornua.

like those of Philip II. of Macedon, with a Minerva for re-

verse, standing in a car drawn by four elephants, alluding
to his Indian campaigns.
There are also other types but it will be seen that the

custom of placing the portrait of the prince on the coinage,

was not thoroughly established during his reign.
Antiochus I. (282 to 261 B.C.) received the surname of
"Soter" (saviour) in consequence of repeated victories over
the Grauls, who invaded Asia Minor during his reign.
Antiochus boldly placed his portrait upon the coinage, a
custom which about this time became general in the East,
and also in many of the European states. The portrait on
the obverse of his coins is very finely executed as is the :

Apollo sitting on the cortina the device which occupies

the reverse, with the inscription, BASIAEHS ANTIOXOY,
(BASILEOS ANTIOCHOU) of the king Antiochus." There
are many other types found on the coins of this period.
Antiochus II., Theos (the Grod), a title he received from
the Milesians, whom he delivered from their tyrant, Timar-
chus,* or, according to some, because he was born in a city
of that name. He was the son of Antiochus I., and reigned
261 to 247 B.C.
The Syrian empire was much weakened in this reign by
the war with Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt taking ;

advantage of which, Arsaces detached several provinces,

which he governed independently, and thus laid the founda-
tion of the Parthian dynasty and Theodotus, governor of

Bactria, also revolted, making that province an independent

kingdom, the coinage of which, from recent discoveries, has
become one of the most interesting fields of numismatic study
to be noticed in a separate place. (See Plate VI.)
Antiochus, in order to obtain peace from Ptolemy, mar-
ried his daughter Berenice,t putting away his former wife,
Laodice, whom he recalled after the death of the Egyptian
monarch but her jealousy and revenge induced her to poison

her husband when thus recalled, thus ending the career of

Antiochus II., after a reign of nineteen years.
His coins are in the usual style of art of the early coins of

* There are coins of the

tyrant Timarchus, styling himself King of Babylon,
of which six specimens are possessed by the British Museum.
f This connexion between Syria and Egypt is mentioned in the book of

this dynasty, but are various in their devices. They are very
fine coins, having the portrait for obverse, and on the reverse
a finely executed figure of Hercules, seated, leaning one
hand on his club, and the inscription, BA2iAEn2 ANTIOXOT,
(BASILEOS ANTIOCHOU) of the king Antiochus." Some of
the coins of Antiochus II. have the Apollo device on the
reverse, similar to those of the former reign, and others,
again, have the sitting Jupiter of the coinage of Alexander
the Great, for reverse whilst some have on the obverse the

galloping Dioscuri, and for reverse a figure of Minerva.

Seleucus II. (from 247 to 227 B.C.) He assumed the
surname of " Callinicus" (/caXXiw/co?), "splendidly victorious,"
or conqueror," most probably after his recovery of the
provinces which had been overrun by Ptolemy Euergete, to
revenge the death of his sister Berenice. His reign, of near
twenty years, appears to have been a very stirring one, though
historical records are very barren on the subject but that he ;

eventually expelled his brother Antiochus, who had assumed

independent power in a portion of Asia Minor, and invaded
the revolted provinces of Bactria and Parthia, though with
no result, is well known. He was killed by a fall from his
horse during the war with Attains, king of Pergamus, who
had invaded Asia Minor.
The coins of this prince are with difficulty distinguished
from those of his son, Seleucus III., who succeeded, as both
are without the dates of the Seleucidan era, which in other
cases greatly facilitate the correct attribution of later coins
of this series. The coins commonly attributed to him are
those bearing the inscription, BA2IAEH2 SEAETKOT, (BASILEOS
SELEUKOU) " of the king Seleucus," with a graceful figure
of Apollo leaning on a tripod. When the monograms,
which are so frequent on Greek coins, shall be better under-
stood, the difficulties of correct attribution of coins belonging
to the different regal series will be greatly lessened. gold A
coin, attributed to this prince, with the Apollo reverse, was
the only known gold coin of the Seleucidse, except those of
Antiochus the Great, till modern discovery has slightly
increased the number.

Daniel (xi. 6) where by the king of the south, Ptolemy is meant, and the king
of the north signifies Antiochus.

Seleucus III. (from 227 to 223 B.C.), surnamed Cerawiu*

(Kepawos) the thunderer, or the thunderbolt," a title which
appears to have been given him by the soldiery, in derision, as
he was both feeble and timid. His coins, as above observed,
are difficult to separate from those of his father but as he

was assassinated during the war which he continued against

Attains, at the early age of 20, those with the youngest head
may, with some plausibility, be assigned to him, while those,
the portraits of which appear with more strongly marked
features, may, for similar reasons, be assigned to his father.
Antiochus III. the Great, (from 223 to 187. B.C.), was
the brother of his predecessor. This prince, surnamed " the
great (Me'yas), was so fortunate in all his undertakings in
the early part of his reign, that he greatly extended the
dominions he had received from his immediate predecessor,
hoping even to regain the entire sovereignty of Asia, inclu-
ding even Bactria and Parthia ;
but his war with the
Romans, partly in consequence of his having sheltered the
fugitive Hannibal, and partly from the unjust aggression
against the young king of Egypt, who had been placed under
the protection of the great republic, turned the tide of for-
tune against him, and he was killed in a sacrilegious attempt
to seize the treasures of a wealthy temple in Elymais, in
order to pay the enormous tribute required by the Romans
in consequence of the signal victories of Scipio.
The coins of Antiochus the Great are the first of the series
bearing dates two of which are of the 112th and 117th

years of the Seleucidan dynasty, the 23rd and 28th of the

reign of Antiochus.
The earliest coins of this reign exhibit Antiochus in early
youth, the later ones in middle age some of the latter being

of extraordinarily high relief and very highly finished execu-

tion. The silver tetradrachms, or pieces of four drachms,
are the principal pieces here referred to, and there are very
magnificent gold coins of the same size and similar cha-
racter but the greatest variety of types is found in the

smaller silver and copper coins. Copper coins of this reign

exist, of about the size of the tetradrachms, the workmanship
of which is very good. The finest tetradrachms have for
reverse, Apollo seated on the cortina, with the inscription
" of the

Antiochus," with one or more monograms, and one or other

of the dates above referred to. (See Plate VI.)
Seleucus IV. (from 187 to 176 B.C.). This reign is poor in
a numismatic point of view. The power of the state having
been greatly reduced by the Koman. war, may, perhaps,
account for the low state of the coinage, little money having
reached us except small copper coins. These generally bear
the prow of a vessel for the reverse but there are several

other types.
Antiochus IV. (from 176 to 164 B. c.), was a brother of
Seleucus IV. He was surnamed JZpipkanes, " the illustrious,"
but sometimes called in derision Epimanes, " the furious."
After returning from Rome, where he had been sent by his
father, Antiochus III., as a hostage, he attempted to intro-
duce the Greek religion among the Jews, and so caused the
revolt of Mattathias and his sons, the Maccabees. He died
raving mad at Tabse, in Persia as the Jews asserted, in
consequence of his sacrilegious crimes.
His coios are remarkable as the first of this series
bearing the surnames of the princes. These inscriptions
ANTIOCHOU THEOU EPIPHANOUS), " of the king Antiochus,
the god, the illustrious."
Some of the large copper have a head of Jupiter on the
obverse, with the thunderbolt and eagle for reverse others ;

have a head of Diana on the obverse. The more common

tetradrachms have the Alexandrian type of the sitting Jupiter
for reverse but nearly all have the inscription above
described, or, EOT EDI^ANOT NIKH*OPOT, of the illustrious
and victorious god." The small copper coins of this reign
are remarkable as exhibiting, for the first time, the radiated
Antiochus V. (from 162 to 150, B.C.). This was almost a
nominal reign, as the young king was only nine years of
age when he ascended the throne, and eleven when killed
by his own guards, on the invasion of Demetrius yet coins ;

of this short reign exist, which are known by the occurrence

of his surname, Eupator, upon them.
Demetrius I. (from 162 to 150 B.C.), surnamed Soter, had
been sent as a hostage to Eome by his father, Seleucus IV.,
to redeem Antiochus. the brother of that monarch. He

escaped from Borne- advised, it is said, by the historian

Polybius with the intention of dispossessing his nephew of
the throne, which he easily effected, the Syrians declaring
in his favour, and his nephew being killed, as above stated,
by his "own revolted guards. He received the surname of
Soter, saviour," from the Babylonians, whom he had bene-
fitted by the expulsion of the satrap Heracleides. The Jews
were again driven into revolt in this reign, and Judas
Maccabeus concluded an alliance with the Bomans, by which
the independence of Juda3a was stipulated for. Surrounded
by enemies and difficulties, Demetrius found himself still
farther pressed by the appearance of an impostor, Alexander
Balas, who pretended to be a son of Antiochus Epiphanes.
This pretender was supported by the Bomans, and by the
kings of Pergamus and Cappadocia. In a battle which

ensued, Demetrius was slain. His coins have a finely

executed head, within a garland or border of olive, on the
obverse; and on the reverse, a sitting figure holding a
cornucopia; the inscription being BA2IAEH2 AHMHTPIOT
(BASILEOS DEMETRIOU), generally with the addition of
2nTHP02 (SOTEROS) saviour."
Alexander Balas (from 150 to 147 B.C.). The origin of
the surname of JBalas is uncertain, but most probably
signifies lord, or king." He is said by some to have assumed
the name of Alexander also, to give a prestige to his claim
and usurpation. He only reigned four years after the
defeat of Demetrius I., when he was defeated by Deme-
trius II., and afterwards assassinated in Arabia, where
he had taken refuge. There are, however, many coins of
his reign, especially some large copper ones, bearing his
own profile over that of Cleopatra, daughter of Ptolemy
Philometor she appears as the goddess Isis. The reverse

is the Alexandrian type of the sitting Jupiter. His

silver didrachms, with his own portrait, have the eagle and
thunderbolt for reverse and there are many varieties of types

on the small copper. In the inscriptions, he is frequently

styled Epiphanes and Mcephorus, after his pretended
father, Antiochus Epiphanes. Other inscriptions stand
o f the king
Alexander, the son of a father-god, the beneficent."

Demetrius II. (Nicator) Antioclius VI. (Dionysius


Epiphanes) Diodotus, Tryphou, and Antioclius VII. (Si-

detes) ;(occupying together from 147 to 125 B.C.). Deme-
trius II. received the surname of NtKarecp, "the victorious,"
from the victory he obtained over Balas. The usurper had
caused all the members of the royal family within his reach
to be destroyed but Demetrius had been sent by his father

to the island of Crete, where he remained in safety till he

was able to raise a body of mercenaries, with which, aided
by Ptolemy Philometor, who declared against his son-in-law,
he completely defeated Alexander. Ptolemy then bestowed
his daughter Cleopatra upon Demetrius, she being a widow
in consequence of the murder of her husband by an Arabian
emir, with whom he had sought refuge.
Demetrius soon abused the power which he had so
fortunately acquired; and the general discontent enabled
Diodotus, surnamed Tryphon, to set up Antiochus, an infant
son of Alexander Balas^ as claimant to the throne, reducing
a large portion of Syria under his domination. During this
period, called the reign of Antiochus VI., coins were issued
in the name of the young Antiochus, surnamed Tlieos,
many of which are very fine a noble tetradrachm, with the
portrait wearing a radiated crown, and the Dioscuri for
reverse, with the surnames Dionysius and Epiphanes, being
as fine as any of the period it has on the reverse the date

OP, the 170th year of the Seleucidse.

Tryphon afterwards murdered the young Antiochus, and
proclaimed himself king ;
at which period he issued a
coinage, on which, in addition to the title of king, he
assumed that of Autocrator (AvTOKparap) '" absolute sove-

reign, autocrat, or emperor." It is the Greek word by which

the Koman title Imperator was expressed when Boman money
was coined in the Grecian states, after their reduction under
the domination of Borne. On the reverse of the coins of
Tryphon is a singular helmet, ornamented with the horn of
an ibex a symbol, and part of the costume, of one of the
mountain tribes of Asia Minor, which he is supposed to have
subdued. During the time of this occupation of part of his
kingdom, Demetrius made an effort to increase his dominions
eastward, and invaded Parthia, where he was taken prisoner
by Mithridates (Arsaces VI.), and kept ten years in captivity.

During this period his brother Antiochus Sidetes, "the

* or
hunter," perhaps named from the town of Side, where he
was brought up, overthrew Tryphon, and firmly established
himself on the throne, issuing coins which are called those
of Antiochus VII. Some of them have the portrait on the
obverse, with a figure of Minerva on the reverse, accom-
panied by an inscription similar to those of his predecessors,
the surname on the coins being Every etc, "the benefactor."
The finest of his coins, however, are perhaps those with the
head of Jupiter on the obverse, and the old Alexandrian
type of the sitting Jupiter on the reverse.
Demetrius being released from captivity, and aided by the
Parthians, returned to his dominions, and attacked Sidetes,
who fell in battle. During his absence in Parthia, where he
had married Bhodogune, a daughter of Mithridates, his
wife Cleopatra had become the wife of Sidetes but she

could not forgive him his own Parthian marriage, and in the
war which shortly ensued with Ptolemy Physcon, who set up
another pretender, Alexander Zebina, she refused to afford
him refuge in Ptolemais, and he was murdered at Tyre,
while endeavouring to effect his escape by sea.
Thus ended the eventful reign of Demetrius II. His
coins are numerous, and have generally his portrait for
obverse, with Apollo sitting on the cortina for reverse. But
one coin, attributed to this reign, has the remarkable reverse
of a figure representing the Fortune of the king (77 TOV
Bao-tXecos T^J?) a personification to which divine honours
were assigned by the Syrians. His coins, previous to his
captivity in Parthia, have a youthful head without a beard ;

but those struck after his return have a long beard, after the
Parthian fashion, from which country he also appears to
have brought the singular type just described.
Alexander Zebina (from 125 to 124 B.C.). Coins are
attributed to this usurper, which represent him crowned
with rays they have a standing figure of Minerva for reverse.

The portrait on some fine tetradrachms has a simple fillet

instead of a crown. Those with the crown of rays are
perhaps the most remarkable of his coins, but they are many
of them fine and it appears extraordinary that during a short

* From a Syriac word.


usurpation of one year, he should have been able to issue a

coinage so various, and apparently so abundant.
Seleucus V. (124 B.C.), the son of Demetrius II., has left
no well authenticated coins. He was assassinated by his
mother Cleopatra, who wished to place her younger son,
Antiochus, on the throne.
A-ntiochus VIII. (Grypus) (from 124 to 96 B.C.), and
Antiochus IX. (Cyzicenes) (from 111 to 95 B.C.). Antiochus,
surnamed Qrypus, or " the hook-nosed," from ypty, a griffon,
was recalled from Athens, where he was studying at the
time of his brother's death, to ascend the throne of Syria ;

Cleopatra, imagining that she might herself govern the state

in reality, while the youth of the king would reduce him to
a mere shadow, only nominally filling the throne. During
the first years of his reign, when the state was in reality
governed by his mother, her profile appears with his own on
a number of finely executed coins. Some coins of this
portion of the reign have the portrait of Antiochus on one
side, and that of Cleopatra on the other. Subsequently, she
became jealous of his increasing influence in the state, when
she attempted to poison him but, discovering the plot, he

forced her to drink the cup of poison prepared for himself.

His coins, struck after the death of his mother, have his
own portrait only, a fine head, with a simple fillet and the

reverse is a standing figure of Jupiter, with the inscription

PHANOUS), with a monogram and other small types, within a
garland of olive; Epiphanes is the surname used on his coins;
but, as may have been observed in the description of this
series of coins, these names are frequently different to the

popular ones by which historians have designated the princes

of this dynasty. (See Plate VI.)
About the year 111 B.C., a son of Antiochus Sidetes,
Antiochus Cyzicus so named from having been brought
up in that city laid claim to a portion of the kingdom ;

and, after a war of several years, a division was made,

Cyzicus taking Ccele-Syria, and Phrenicia, while Grypus
took the other provinces. Cyzicus, or Cyzicenus, is described
as Antiochus IX. On the death of his brother he attempted
to gain possession of the whole of Syria, but his claims
were resisted by Seleucus, eldest son of Grypus, and he

was killed in His coins have a well executed


portrait, and a standing Minerva holding a Victory,

figure of
on the reverse with the inscription, BASIAEIU ANTIOXOT


the king Antioehus, loving-of-his-father."
Seleucus VI. (JEpiphanes and Nicator) (from 96 to 94 B.C.).
His tetradrachms first begin to show a decadence in Greco-
Syrian art otherwise they are not remarkable. The portrait

is in the usual style of recent coins of the series, and the

reverse the same as that of the coins of Cyzicenus, with the

difference only of the surnames Epiphanes and Nicator in
the inscriptions.
Antioehus X. (EusebesJ, and on his coins Philopator.
Antioehus XI. (Epiphanes) y Philip I., Antioehus XII.
(Dionysius), and Demetrius III. (from 96 to 83 B.C.).
Epiphanes, Demetrius, and Philip were sons of Grypus, and
Eusebes and Dionysius, of Cyzicenus. Their disputes
plunged the state into ruinous civil war; for Antioehus,
called the Tenth, had no sooner conquered Seleucus, than
he had to- contend with Antioehus Epiphanes, called the
Eleventh, and Philip. The former being defeated and slain,
Philip assumed the crown.
The time of the death of Antioehus X. is uncertain, but
he appears to have fallen in battle against the Parthians.
Demetrius III., was now put forward by Ptolemy Lathyrus ;

and he and his brother Philip became masters of the whole

of Syria. Demetrius was eventually subdued by his brother
Philip, and sent prisoner into Parthia.
Antioehus XIX. (Dionysius) now assumed the title of king,
but was killed in a battle against Aretas, king of Arabia. It
appears probable that Philip was conquered and put to
death by Tigranes, king of Armenia, to whom the Syrians,
disgusted with the cruelties and wasting civil wars of the
last princes of the Seleueidan race, had offered the
The coins of these six eotemporary princes are very similar
in style of art, whichis very inferior to that of the coinage
of their predecessors. The reverses are generally the sitting
Jupiter of the tetradrachms of Alexander the Great, and
many of the coins are of base metal (potin). The surnames
of Antioehus X. on his coins are Eusebes and Philopator ;

of Antiochus XI., Philopator and Callinicus those of Philip,

Epiphanes and Philadelphus, brother-lover," in allusion to
his twin brother Antiochus XI. those of Antiochus XII.,

Philopator Callinicus and those of Demetrius III., Theos


Philopator and Soter, and also Philometor Evergetes Calli-

nicus. The Philometor, mother-
lover," was in allusion to his
mother Cleopatra Selene, of whom
some small but pretty coins are
Tigranes (83 to 69 B.C.).
Tigranes possessed great part of
Syria during the period above
shown, and the coins which bear
his name are supposed to be
of Syrian rather than Armenian
mintage. They are well executed,
and bear line portraits, wearing the Armenian crown or
tiara and on the reverse, some of them have a sitting figure

wearing a turretted crown, and treading on a river deity,

supposed to be the Euphrates, in token of his conquest of
Syria. The inscription is BASIAEJU TIFPANOT, " of the king
Antiochus XIII. (Asiaticus), (69 to 65 B.C.), was the son
of Antiochus X. and Cleopatra Selene. He took refuge in
Rome during the time that Tigranes held possession of
Syria ; but after the defeat of that prince by Pompey, he
was allowed by Lucullus to take possession of the Syrian
throne, but only for a brief period for in the year 65 B.C.

the whole of Syria was declared by Pompey a Eoman

province. There are, nevertheless, coins of this last of the
Seleucidse, but only of the smaller class. They have a
bearded portrait 011 the obverse, and on the reverse a
standing figure holding a Victory, and the inscription,
NICOU), of the king Antiochus Dionysius Philopator Calli-
nicus," his surname Asiaticus not being found on coins.
The interest and beauty of this series of regal coins may
be to some extent appreciated by the specimens exhibited
in plate VI., as far as they can 'be by outline engravings.

Their historical importance is great, especially on account of

their numerous dates and their certain attribution but I;

need not dwell upon their importance here, as the works

specially devoted to them by Yaillant, Gough, and others,
sufficiently prove both their value as historical documents
and their beauty and interest as works of art.

(See Plate VI.)



THE series of coins known as that of the Arsacidse forms a

most interesting suite of historical monuments, which,
though seldom beautiful as works of art, are yet remarkable,
both on account of the illustrations of costume which they
afford, and also for their unusually full inscriptions, con-
taining, at full length, surnames and titles, which enable the
student to assign each coin so inscribed, with great proba-
bility of correctness, to the reign to which it belongs. But
this is not always so easy, as would appear, history being
silent as to many of the surnames which have been pre-
served to us by coins. The inscriptions are invariably
Greek, and the types prove that the Greek polytheism had
taken firm root in the vast Asiatic districts comprised
within the boundaries of the Parthian empire founded by
the Arsacidse, throughout which the prevalence of a Grecian
sentiment is strikingly expressed on some of the coins of
Arsacidan princes, which bear the inscription ^IAEAAHNOS
lover of the Greeks.
In the previous chapter I have spoken of the revolt of the
more eastern or Indian provinces of the Syrian empire
founded by Seleucus Nicator, which defections were followed.

in the reign of his grandson, Antiochus II., by the Parthian

revolt led by Arsaces, the founder of the dynasty called the
Arsacidse, who all continued to bear the name of the founder
of the monarchy, till its subversion by the Persian rebellion.
In addition to the family name of Arsaces, these princes are
all described by historians with an additional name, as

Artabanus, Mithridates, &c. &c., which names, however,

never appear upon the coinage.
The coins of this dynasty, according to the common Greek
practice in other regal series, have the portrait head on the
obverse, without inscription, and on the reverse, some favourite
deity or symbol, accompanied by an inscription. The inscrip-
tions on the ordinary coins of this series, near the commence-
ment of the monarchy, are simple, such as APSAKOY BA2IAEH2
(of the King Arsaces) afterwards, as the power of the

state increased, such titles as BA2IAET2 BASIAEHN (King of

Kings) are adopted: and at last we have BA2IAEH2 BA2I-
*IAEAAHNO2, of the King of Kings, Arsaces, the Great, the
Just, the Beneficent, the Illustriously Born, the Lover of
the Greeks," an inscription which occurs on a coin of
Arsaces XII.
Arsaces I., (from about 250 to 242 B.C.) From the state-
ments of Strabo and Justin, it appears that Arsaces was of
Scythic race, and the leader of a robber-tribe w ho invaded

Parthia, and, defeating the Greek governor, assumed the

title of king. The account of Arrian differs
materially, stating
that Arsaces was the brother of one Tiridates, a youth who
had been grossly insulted by the Syrian governor of Parthia,
Agathocles, or Pherecles, and who consequently headed a
rebellion which became successful, detaching that vast pro-
vince from the Syrian empire.*
The coins attributed to the first Arsaces bear a youthful
head, wearing a singularly formed helmet on the reverse,
resembling the tiara on the coins of Tigranes,f without
There a fine copper coin of the town of Amastris, belonging to a later

period, which is
thought by some to commemorate this event, and the con-
sequent foundation of the Parthian empire : on one side is a fine youthful
head, and on the other a figure holding the head of a decapitated trunk, which
lies at his feet.

f See end of Chapter on coins of Seleucida\


inscription and on the reverse is a sitting figure holding a


bow, which Visconti considers a debased copy of the sitting

Apollo on some of the coins of the Seleueidae, but which
may possibly be a reassumption of the crowned archer, the
ancient symbol of Persia, found on the daries,* which, as the
independent government of the Arsacidse was the re-esta-
blishment of the old Asiatic supremacy, seems highly pro-
bable, especially as later kings of the race assumed the
ancient tiara or crown of the Persian kings. The inscription
on the reverse is simply AKSAKOT BA5IAEH2, of the King
Arsaces II., Tiridates, (from about 242 to about 214 B.C.)
Arsaces is stated by some historians to have reigned 37
years y but this would leave no time for the reign of the

first Arsaces, which by several authorities is shown to have

commenced about 250 B.C. I have therefore selected another
date for the commencement of this reign. A
coin is sup-
posed to belong to this reign, struck after Arsaces had
defeated Seleueus Callmieusyt who endeavoured to recover
the revolted provinces of his father's empire. It has the
inscription on the reverse APSAKOY BASIAEHS MEFAAOT, of
the great King Arsaces."
Arsaces III., Artabanus I., (from about 210 to 196 B. c.)
He was the son of the preceding, and had to resist an
attempt of Antiochus the Great to recover Parthia. Coins
are assigned to him which have a portrait wearing a royal fillet
and a long beard,J the head executed in the Greek style.
The reverse has the archer mentioned in the reign of
Arsaces I., and the inscription BA2IAEH2 MEFAAOY APSAKOT.
A brother of this king is supposed to have conquered a
portion of Armenia, and founded the Arsacidan dynasty of
that kingdom, to be mentioned in another place. (See list
of regal coins in Appendix.)
Arsaces IV., Phriapatms (from 196 to 181 B.C.), was a son
of the preceding, and left three sons, Phraates, Mithridates,

* See
page 14.
f" Some
authorities suppose that the invasion of Seleucus was defeated in
the reign of Arsaces I. ; and if so, this coin possibly belongs to that reign.
Demetrius II., king of Syria, after his captivity in Parthia, "wore a beard
after the Parthian fashion. His bearded portraits on Syrian coins were struck
after his return.

and Artabanus. It is difficult to attribute coins to this reign,

and those supposed to belong to it are not remarkable.
Arsacea V., Phraates (from 181 to 177 B.C.), subdued the
Mardi, and added their territory to Parthia. Though he had
several sons, he left the kingdom to his brother, Mithridates.
A coin attributed to Arsaces V. has a bearded portrait on
the obverse, similar to that of Arsaces III., but more formally
executed. The reverse is an archer, with the inscription,
King of Kings, the Great, of Arsaces the Illustrious."
Eekbel considers this title more appropriate to the events
of the next reign, and therefore is inclined to consider it
should be placed there but in many public collections the

coin is attributed, as above, to Arsaces Y.

Arsaces VI., Mithridates I., (from 179 to 139 B.C.) He
subdued all Media and Persia, and captured Babylon, and
obtained possession of much of the Indian territory possessed
by the Greco-Baetrian prince Eueratides,* whom he defeated;
and his empire extended from the Hindu Caucasus to the
Euphrates. It was in this reign that Demetrius II., King
of Syria, invaded Parthia, and was defeated and taken prisoner,
but kindly treated during his captivity, Mithridates giving him
his daughter Hhodogune in marriage. t On a tetradrachm,
attributed to this reign, the portrait is a boldly executed
head, wearing a long beard and a broad fillet. The reverse
has a standing figure, apparently Hercules, with a lion-skin
over one arm, which also supports the club the hand is ;

extended, and holds a wand, or sceptre. The inscription is

Arsaces, Lover of the Greeks." His munificent treatment
of his Greek prisoner, Demetrius, is a fine illustration of the
admiration of Greek civilisation, expressed on the national
Arsaces YIL, Phraates II. (from 139 to 126 B.C.), was
the son of the
preceding. He was attacked by Antiochus
Sidetes, who defeated the Parthians in three engagements, but
was himself afterwards defeated, losing his life in the battle.
Arsaces was himself defeated and slain soon after by the

See Chapter on Greek coins of Bactria, &c.
f See coins of Seleucidse.

Scythians, whom Antiochus had called to his aid. The total

defeat of the Parthians is supposed to have been caused by
the defection during the battle of the Greek prisoners whom
Arsaces had caused to enter his service. Coins attributed
to Arsaces VII. have a portrait wearing the antique crown
or tiara of Persia, adopted, perhaps, in consequence of the
conquest of the territory of ancient Persia in the preceding
reign. The inscription round the figure of the archer on the
TOPO2, of the great King Arsaces, of the Son of a Father-
" "
god, of the Victorious." The epithet son of a father-god
may have been adopted in grateful memory of the large addi-
tions made by his predecessor to the Parthian monarchy.
On some coins attributed to him the simple surname
*iAonATOP, father-lover," is found, and such are supposed to
have been struck when he was associated in the government
during the life of his father, the EOHATHP, son of a father-
god," being added after the death of his father. The circle of
stags round the tiara of the portrait are supposed by Visconti
to allude to the swiftness of the Parthian cavalry, to which
many of their successes in battle were owing a similar con-

jecture to that put forward respecting the same device on

coins of Mithridates, king of Pontus. The epithet I>IAEAAHNO:S ;
lover of th^e Greeks," is supposed to have been continued on
some of the coins of this reign to gain popularity in Syria,
the entire conquest of which was at one time meditated by
this prince.
Arsaces VIII., Artabanus II., (from 126 to 115 B.C.)
The youngest son of Arsaces IV., was killed in an engage-
ment with the Scythians, and the coins, attributed to him
on slight grounds, are not remarkable.
Arsaces IX., Mithridates II., (from 115 to 85 B.C.)
This prince is said to have added many provinces to the
Parthian empire, and to have assumed in consequence the
title of "great;" but to the south-east the Scythian conqueror
Azes made great inroads on provinces formerly under Greek
domination, conquering Afghanistan and Bactria, and estab-
lishing his seat of government in Balkh. The Romans held
their first intercourse with Parthia in this reign, Mithri-
dates sending Orobazus to Sulla, who was engaged in
restoring Ariobarzanes to the throne of Cappadocia, and re-

questing an alliance, which was granted. The coins attributed

to this reign closely resemble others of the series.
Arsaces X., Mnascires, (85 to 77 B.C.) It is conjectured
that this prince was the Mnascires mentioned by Lucian,
who lived to the age of ninety-six. The events of this
supposed reign are lost in obscurity but Arsaces Phraates

supposed to have been a rival for the throne, probably on
the ground of re-establishing the ancient faith of central
Asia to the exclusion of the Greek Polytheism, as the
epithet, Swrjyopos ZapavTpeas, "the defender of Zoroaster," is
found on some coins attributed to him and the conjecture

is rendered more
probable, as this was eventually the ground
of the triumphant revolt of Artaxerxes, the founder of the
Sassanian dynasty, who eventually re-established the fire-
Arsaces XI., Sanatroces, (from 77 to about 70 B.C.) was
placed upon the Parthian throne when eighty years of age,
and died while the Eoman leader Lucullus was engaged in
the war against Tigranes, king of Armenia. The coins of
this reign are not mistakeable, as they bear the name of
Sanatroces (SANATPOIKHS).
Arsaces XII., Phraates III., surnamed Theos (from about
70 to 55 B.C.), was a son of Sanatroces. Tigranes, king of
Armenia, applied to this prince for assistance against the
Eomans he is said, however, to have concluded an alliance

with the Romans at that time. Afterwards he contemplated

attacking Pompey, who in a negotiation had refused to give
him his usual title, King of Kings but war was not com-

menced, and in the meantime Arsaces XII. was murdered

by his sons. His coins are poor, and the portrait has the
rows of stiff wiglike curls that distinguish the later portraits
of this series they have, however, magnificent inscriptions,

of which that given in the introductory remarks to this

series is an example.
Arsaces XIII., Mithridates III. (55 B.C.), the murderer
of his father, was expelled the throne for his cruelties, and
his brother, Orodes, succeeded him. Mithridates applied to
the Koman general, Gabinius, then in Syria, to reinstate him,
and it is possible he might have succeeded in his request had
not Grabinius immediately after received a more tempting offer
from one of the last Ptolemies (Ptolemy Auletes) to replace

Mm on the throne of Egypt in return for an enormous sum.

Probably no coins were struck during his short reign.
Arsaces XIV., Orodes I, (from 55 to 37 B.C.), was one
of the ablest and most powerful of the Parthian princes.
In the beginning of his reign the Romans, under the com-
mand of Crassus, sustained the signal defeat in which that
commander lost his life, and in which 30,000 Eoman soldiers
were killed or taken prisoners. Orodes even attempted to
conquer the whole of Syria, but he sustained several defeats.
At last, during the lethargy of Antony, under the fascina-
tion of Cleopatra, the Parthian king overran and reduced the
whole of the country, as well as Cilicia. But Antony,
roused at last, sent his most able lieutenant, Yentidius,
against Orodes, and two signal victories followed the new
appointment, in the last of which, Pacorus, the eldest son of
Orodes, was slain, and the whole of the Parthian conquests
recovered by the Romans, who had previously conquered
Syria, and declared it a Roman province as early as 63 B.C.
The news of this last disaster, and the death of his
favourite son, so preyed upon the mind of the aged Orodes,
that he gave up the throne to his son Phraates.* He had
many wives, and is said to have left thirty sons besides
Phraates. His coins are much finer than those of his imme-
diate predecessors, and the finest are supposed to have been
minted in Syria during his temporary possession of that
country, which may account for their resemblance in style to
some of the coins of the Seleucidae. The eagles which appear
as ornaments on the dress of some of his portraits on the
tetradrachms, are supposed by Yisconti to commemorate the
capture of the Roman standards on the destruction of the
army of Crassus. (See Plate VI.)
Arsaces XV., Phraates IV., (from 37 to 4 B.C.) He is
said to have murdered his thirty brothers and even his
own eldest son, in order that there might be no member of
the royal family who could be placed on the throne in his
stead, an abominable crime that the modern practice of
polygamy in the east has often rendered politically necessary
even in times near to our own. The seat of Parthian
government at this period was Seleucia on the Tigris.
* Some historians aver that he was afterwards assassinated by Phraates.

Marc Antony invaded Parthia inthis reign, but was

unsuccessful, and, on making a truce, is said to have
bestowed on Phraates the Italian inaid Thermusa, who
became his queen, and bore him a son, who, aided by his
mother, effected the death of Phraates by poison. But
during the earlier part of their marriage she exercised great
influence over Phraates, causing his four other sons and their
wives and children to be given up to Augustus as hostages
at the time the Eoman standards, taken from Crassus, were
given up.*
Coins were struck by Phraates in honour of his Italian
wife, Thermusa. One of them in the British Museum has
the inscription, EA2 OTP [ANIAS EP] MOT BAS [IAEAS] "of
the Heavenly Goddess, of the Queen Thermusa." The
letters in brackets are off the coin in the museum, but
are perfect on other specimens.
The coins of Phraates relapse into the usual stiff style
of workmanship of the later specimens of this series, and
are not remarkable. The portrait with the regal fillet very
broad, some of them appearing to be composed of three or
more bands passing straight from the forehead to the upper
part of the head, below which appear three or four stiff rows
of curls, a style common to nearly all the remaining coins of
the series.
Arsaces XVI., Phraates.- The murder of his father
caused him to be hated by his subjects, who soon expelled
him, and elected in his stead Orodes, of a collateral branch
of the royal family. Xo coins can with certainty be
attributed to this reign.
Arsaces XVII., Orodes II., (4 B.C. to 14 A.D.) ;

Arsaces XVIII., Voiiones, (14 to 18 A.D.) Arsaces XIX.,


Artabanus III., (18 to 41 A.D.) Arsaces XX., Gotarzes,


(from 41 to about 45 A.D.) Arsaces XXI., Bardanes, (put


to death 47 A.D.) Arsaces XXII., Vouones II., (49 to


52 A.D.,) occupying, collectively, the period from about 4 B.C.

to 52 A.D., embracing the period from the middle of the
reign of Augustus nearly to the end of that of Claudius ;

* Such
importance ilid the Roman senate attach to the recovery of these
ensigns that coins were struck to commemorate their reception at Rome, with
the inscription SIGNIS RECEPTJS.

during the whole of which period the Romans were more

or less mixed up with the affairs of Parthia.
Orodes was put to death by his subjects for his cruelty ;

and the Romans were requested to send back Vonoiies, one

of the sons of Phraates IV. He was disliked on account of
his Roman habits and manners acquired by his long resi-
dence in Italy, and Artabanus, then King of Media (but of
the family of the Arsacidae), was called in to replace him,
and he retired to the Roman province of Syria, where he
was allowed to reside, with the title of king, but was
eventually put to death by Tiberius, as Suetonius states, on
account of his great treasure, which he carried with him from
Parthia. Artabanus disputed the possession of Armenia
with the Romans, and claimed the treasure carried into
Syria by Yonones. But his tyranny became insupportable
to his subjects, who applied to the Romans for Phraates,
another son of Phraates IV. this prince, on his arrival in

Parthia, soon died, in consequence of disusing the Roman

mode of living to which he had been so long accustomed.
Tiberius now set up Tiridates as a claimant to the Armenian
territory, and eventually to the Parthian throne, Artabanus
being compelled to fly the country. Artabanus, however,
taking advantage of intestine troubles, returned and drove out
Tiridates, seizing Armenia also, after the death of Tiberius,
and would have invaded Syria but for the vigilance of
Vitellius, with whom he concluded a peace. He was again
expelled by the Parthian nobles for his cruelty, but reinstated
by the assistance of Izales, a prince styling himself King of
Adiabene. Artabanus, who reigned during the most active
period of the life of Christ, died soon afterwards, leaving the
kingdom to his son Bardanes, who was soon put to death,
when a civil war ensued between his two brothers, Grotarzcs
and another Bardanes, who both possessed the throne
alternately during short periods. The Parthians, towards
the end of the last period of the supremacy of Gotarzes,
requested the Roman emperor, Claudius, to send out a grand-
son of Phraates IV., still living in Rome, but he was slain in
the combat which ensued after the death of G-otarzes.
Vonones II., who succeeded him, reigned but a short time,
and little is known of him.
The coins of this period are poor, and assigned to each

prince on very questionable authority. Most of them have

bearded portraits wearing the royal fillet straight across
the top of the head, below which the stiff rows of curls,
before mentioned, form three or four hard lines: the
dress is generally a sort of Persian robe. The reverse has
frequently a figure sitting on a kind of throne, in a costume
similar to that of the portrait head on the obverse, in front
of which stands a figure resembling Minerva, extending her
right hand holding a laurel wreath towards the sitting figure,
and on four sides of the group, are portions, generally two
lines deep, of an inscription similar to the one mentioned in
the introduction to this chapter.
A coin of unusual style is, however, attributed to
Artabanus III. it has a boldly executed full face, and on the

reverse, a horseman (apparently a king) receiving the sub-

mission of a town, personified by a female figure this coin

bears the Seleucidan date TAN (338).

An undoubted coin of Vonones II. may also be particular-
ised ;* it has oil the obverse the portrait of Vonones, with
the name and title round it in the Roman manner, and also
in the nominative case, according to Roman usage, instead
of the genitive, nearly universal on Greek coins. It stands
BA2IAET2 ONHNHS on the reverse is a figure of Victory with


Arsaces XXIII., Yologeses L, (from 52 to 85 A.D., or
according to some, to 99 A.D.) He was a son of Vonones II.,
by a Greek courtesan according to Tacitus, but according to
Josephus he was a son of Artabanus III. This energetic
reign forms a striking contrast to the previous period of
confusion. The successes of his arms were such as to cause
considerable alarm at Rome, where the youthful Nero had
just ascended the imperial throne, at the age of seventeen.
Vologeses maintained the war so successfully against the
Romans, that Nero was compelled to grant Armenia to his
brother Tiridates, only claiming the compliment that he
should come to Rome and receive the kingdom as a gift from
the emperor.
After Nero's death, Vologeses offered to assist Vespasian
with 40,000 Parthians, an offer declined by the Roman in ;

* In the collection of the India House.


the correspondence, the Parthian monarch styled himself

Great King of Kings, but the Eoman added no title to the
simple name of Vespasianus. He afterwards sent an
ambassador to Titus on his return from the conquest and
destruction of Jerusalem, to compliment him on his success.
He founded a great city on the banks of the Euphrates,
naming it after himself, Vologesocerta. He continued to
reign till the time of Domitian, and is supposed by Pro-
fessor Lassen to have recovered Kabool and Candahar from
the Kadphises race of Scythian princes.*
The coins assigned to him have, however, little to dis-
tinguish them from others of the series about this period.
Arsaces XXI V., Pacorus, (from between 85 and 99 to
115 A.D.), was a son of Vologeses II. Little is known of
his reign, except tbat he was in alliance with Decebalus,
king of the Dacians, and that he is supposed to be that
prince who fortified and enlarged the city of Ctesiphon.
Coins with an Arian legend, coined perhaps in the newly
conquered Indian provinces, and bearing the name of
Pakores, are attributed to this prince.
Arsaces XXV., Chosroes, (from 113 to 122 A.D.), another
son of Vologeses I. Having expelled the son of Tiridates
from Armenia to make room for his own nephew, the
Emperor Trajan considered that the expulsion of the son of
a king acknowledged by the Romans was equivalent to a
declaration of war and proceeded to invade Parthia, when,

after a series of brilliant successes, he dethroned Chosroes,

and appointed Parthamaspates in his place. It was during
these brilliant campaigns that Trajan received the title of
Optimus from the senate and on the appointment of Par-

thamaspates, coins were struck in Rome with the inscription

HEX PARTHIS DATUS, "a King given to the Parthians," and
the golden throne of Parthia was carried to Rome to deco-
rate the triumph of the conqueror. After the death of
Trajan, however, Chosroes recovered his kingdom and ;

Hadrian, more intent upon consolidating than extending

the vast empire he was called to govern, gave up all Trajan's
conquests beyond the Euphrates, the former Roman frontier,
and made peace with Chosroes.
* See
Chapter on Graeco-Bactrian coins.

Arsaces XXVII., Vologeses II., (from about 122 to 149

A.D.), succeeded his father. Part of Parthia was overrun by
a vast horde of Alani in this reign, but peace was main-
tained with the Romans, till the death of Hadrian. On the
succession of Antoninus, he sent ambassadors to Rome to
present him with a golden crown, an event commemorated
on the Roman coins of that reign he afterwards demanded

of Antoninus the golden throne of Parthia, and on the refusal

of his demand, prepared to invade Armenia, but was
eventually deterred from attempting the expedition.
Arsaces XXVIII., Vologeses III., (from about 149 to
between 180 and 190 A.D.) Vologeses III. was probably a
son of the preceding. During the remainder of the reign of
Antoninus, he remained at peace with the Romans, but on
the death of that emperor the long threatened war broke out.
At first Armenia and nearly the whole of Syria fell into the
power of the Parthians. But on the arrival of Lucius
Verus at Antioch, Cassius was appointed to the command
of the Roman army, and the forces of Vologeses were driven
back with great loss. Assyria and Mesopotamia were
invaded, and the capital cities, Ctesiphon and Seleucia, both
taken, sacked, and partially destroyed. Armenia was also
completely subdued, and its capital Artaxata taken.
The coins of this reign are barbarous in style, but yet
exhibit a certain neatness of execution which soon after
degenerates into utter rudeness. The portraits on the
coins attributed to Vonones III. wear a kind of tiara, with a
singular striped or plaited lappet falling down at the back.
The beard is long, but neat and square at the bottom, and
arranged in regular rows of curls, and the dress appears
richly embroidered with a pattern resembling an olive
Arsaces XXIX., Vologeses IV., (from about 190 to
about 212 A.D.) In the contest between Pescennius Niger
and Septimus Severus for the Roman empire (193 A.D.).
Vologeses IV. assisted the former. Severus, after Niger was
conquered, suddenly turned his armies against the Parthians.
His invasion being quite unexpected was the more successful.
especially as he was accompanied and advised by a brother
of Vologeses. He took and plundered Ctesiphon in the
year 199 A.D., but did not permanently occupy the country
L 2

At the death of Vologeses, which happened in the beginning

of the reign of Caracalla, a civil war broke out among the
sons of Yologeses, when the strength of the country was
much wasted. The coins of this reign are of uncertain
attribution and in no way remarkable.
Arsaces XXX., Vologeses V., (from about 212 to 215 A.D.)
Caracalla made war upon this prince about 215 or 216 A,D.,
because he refused to surrender the persons of two fugi-
tives who had fled to his country for refuge but the war ;

was not prosecuted, as he gave them up on the approach

of the Roman forces. The supposed coins are not well
Arsaces XXXI., Artabanus IV., (from about 216 to
226 A.D.) Artabanus appears to have been a brother of
the preceding, whom he dethroned. According to Herodian,
Caracalla entered Parthia in the year 216 A.I>., under pre-
tence of asking the daughter of Artabanus in marriage, and
when Artabanus met him, accompanied by his principal
nobles, unarmed, Caracalla treacherously upon them
and put the greater number to the sword, Artabanus himself
escaping with difficulty. In 217 A.D., Artabanus raised a
large army, and marching against the Romans under
Macrinus, w ho had succeeded Caracalla, a dreadful battle

was fought near Nisibis, which continued two days without

victory declaring itself for either side. On the third day
Macrinus informed Artabanus of the death of Caracalla, as
against him the Parthian resentment was chiefly directed,
offering at the same time to return the prisoners taken by
Caracalla, and pay sums of money in addition: to which
terms Artabanus assented, and withdrew his troops.
But these continual contests with the power of Rome,
and its highly disciplined troops, had wasted the resources
of the Parthian princes; and the Persians, pining after
their long-lost independence, revolted under the leader-
ship of Ardshir (Artaxerxes), the son (or descendant) of
Sassan, who, after gaining three great battles, at length
took prisoner Artabanus and put him to death, A.D. 226.*
Thus ended the Parthian empire, after it had endured 471
years; the Parthians now being compelled to submit to

* Some
chronologists make it 235 A.D.

Ardshir, the monarchy of Parthia became merged in a

second Persian empire. A
branch of the Arsacidae, however,
established in Armenia, continued in power long after this
period, and will be spoken of among the minor dynasties
whose coins have come down to us. (See Appendix.)
In the earlier periods of the Parthian monarchy the
coinage consisted of silver and copper, the silver very
pure, but gold was never issued. At late periods the
silver coins were so much adulterated as hardly to deserve
the name, those of the last prince's being classed in cabinets
with potin or coins of base metal. They vary very much in
size, and it would be exceedingly difficult to ascertain what
scale they represent. But the original coinage was doubtless
founded on the Greek drachma tetradrachmas, didrachmas,

and drachmas, being found in the earlier periods, of correct

weight and great purity.
The costume on some of the later coins is singular, the
portraits being represented wearing a sort of tiara embroi-
dered with pearls, and a large ornament apparently com-
posed of pearls covering the ear. The secondary names of
this series, such as Orodes, Artabanus, Phraates, &c.,
mentioned by historians, are but rarely found on the
coinage, while the surnames on the coins, Philopator,
Evergete, &c., are never mentioned in history, which
renders the attribution of the coins exceedingly difficult.
Vaillant, in his first great work, has, however, done much
to clear up the intricacy of the subject, and his explanation
of the coins has proved the best aid in unravelling the
difficulties and chronology of Parthian history. The later
work of Eckhel, containing a condensed and corrected view
of the subject, and Richter and Krausa, will also be found
valuable works to the curious student of the subject, as
well as the works of Prinsep, Wilson, and Lassen, and
Visconti's great work, the " Iconographie Grecque." This
series is very well furnished (with specimens) in the collec-
tion of the British Museum but the finest collection of

Parthian coins in London is undoubtedly that at the India

house, presented by Sir H. "Willock.




AKDISHIR, or Ardshir, the Artaxerxes of the Bomans, (from

A.D. 226 to 240) was one of those extraordinary men who
know how to seize and use those means by which great
and permanent revolutions are effected. He was the son of
Babec, an inferior officer in the army of Artabanus, and
grandson of Sassan. The latter appears to have been a per-
sonage of some importance, as the princes who followed
Ardishir preferred assuming that as the family name to either
Babec or Ardishir. Ardishir himself is said to have been a
distinguished officer in the Parthian army, and to have first
conceived the idea of revolt in consequence of neglect. But
the means by which he succeeded in raising a powerful party
against the Parthian sovereign was the renewed idea of Persian
independence ;
for the principal part of the territories
over which a Parthian family had so long held sway was no
other than ancient Persia. Ardishir, therefore, declared him-
self the heir of the great Cyrus, descended from the ancient

kings of Persia. He further strengthened the popular feeling

thus created in his favour by announcing his intention to
re-establish the ancient religion of the country, that of
Zoroaster, which, though openly professed by the Parthian
court, was nevertheless made secondary to Greek philo-
sophy and Greek polytheism. For the Parthians conquering
the country, as they did, soon after the death of Alexander
the Great, adopted all the forms of Greek civilisation, and
even the language, which became (much as French is now in
Bussia) the language of the court and the cultivated classes,
while the ancient national dialect was still spoken by the
mass of the people. The restoration of the national language
as that of the princes and nobles, as well as of the people,
was a principal cause of the permanence of the insurrection
of Ardishir. He did not therefore, on attaining supreme
" "
power, assume the title of King of Kings in the Greek
form, BA2IAET2 BASiAEflN, but in the Persian equivalent
Ardishir, on feeling his sovereignty firmly established,
felt so
thoroughly his power as the head of a vast population,
of whose highest national feelings he was, as it were, the
impersonation, that he ventured to~ defy at once the giant
power of Koine, claiming from the Emperor Alexander
Severus the immediate cession of all those portions of the
Roman empire that had belonged to Persia in the time of
Cyrus and Xerxes. An immediate war was the consequence.
Ardishir collected an army, the immense numbers of which
may be estimated by the fact, that the cavalry alone amounted
to 170,000, his armed elephants amounted to 700, and his
war-chariots to 1800. Eut, notwithstanding this vast array
of power, he was unable to drive the Romans from one of
their Asiatic or African possessions ; nor could Alexander
Severus, on the other hand, do more than preserve his own
The events of this remarkable reign were as great a
breaking down of the Greek form of civilisation in the vast
countries of central Asia, as the great inroads of the northern
barbarians were of the Roman organisation of western Europe;
and the Sassanian coins are a proof of this great change. The
Greek inscriptions disappear, giving way to Persian legends
written in Arian characters, as some term them, and the
design of the type, though not so artistic as even the rudest
coins where a remnant of Greek feeling remained, are yet
executed with a care and finish so superior to the last of the
Arsacidae, as at once to mark what Silvester de Sacy has
termed a renaissance. The Greek inscriptions were first
replaced by letters resembling those of the Hebrews of the
third century, but in the beginning of the seventh century
they are identical with those found in Pehlvic MSS. The
characters are, however, different in different provinces, even
in the coins of the same king.
The silver coins of the ISassanidae are of similar weight
to those of the Arsacidse but the gold are always of the

standard of the Roman Aureus, which may be explained

by the fact that the new dynasty copied the existing standard
for the silver, but for the new coinage of gold (gold never

having been coined by the Arsacicbe) they adopted the

Roman standard, Greek forms being at that period super-
seded to a great extent by Eoman ones in the greater part
of Asia.
Sassanian coins of various periods are found in India as
far as Kabool, and other places in Affghanistan, in great
numbers few of them, however, being of the earliest princes

of the dynasty. The obverse of the coins of Ardishir, the

founder of this line of Persian princes, bear his portrait, and
have the following inscription, in the national character of
the period : Mazdiesn beh Artachetr malcan Arian
(" the Adorer of Ormuzd, the Excellent Ardishir, King of
the Kings of Persia.") The reverse has only Artachetr
iezda[n]i" (the Divine Ardishir). But the device which
this inscription surmounts is the
" ' '

speaking type which

rallied the whole Persian race round his standards : it is the

flaming altar of the fire- worshippers. The small vessels at

the base of the altar are supposed to be vases of perfume.
It will be observed that the portraits on most of the
coins of this race wear, above the tiara, what appears to be
a mass of drapery, of a circular, or rather, perhaps, of a
pear-shaped form, similar to those of the fine rock-sculptures
of this period, first described by Kerr Porter. Mr. Long-
perrier describes the circular mass of drapery as a globe
celeste, an hypothesis borne out to some extent by the fact
that in some cases it is spangled with stars and it may in

that case symbolise the Sassanidse, the restorers of the

ancient religion, as the supporters of heaven. The cap, or
tiara, embroidered with three rows of pearls, generally
considered the form of the antique Persic crown, was
assumed by Ardishir, and appears on some of his earliest
coins. (See Plate VI.)
Sapor, or Shapur I., (from A.D. 240 to 273.) This prince
was the son of the preceding, and his energy and abilities
farther increased the power of the new empire. "War broke
out again with the Romans a pitched battle was fought

near Edessa, on the Euphrates, and the Romans, under the

Emperor Valerianus, were completely defeated, Yalerianus
himself being carried captive into the heart of Persia, where
he is supposed to have been put to a cruel death. All the
Roman possessions in Asia now fell into the power of Sapor,

and but for the unexpected appearance in the field of

Odenathus and Zenobia, from the deserts of Palmyra, would
have been then lost for ever. It was in this reign that the
doctrine of the celebrated Mavi spread rapidly in the east,
which was an attempt to amalgamate the Christian and Zoro-
astrian religions its followers suffering most sanguinary

persecution both from Christians and fire- worshippers.

Sapor issued an extensive gold coinage. The portraits on
his coins have a large mass of flowing curly hair at the
back of the head, and wear a rich tiara, surrounded by the
globular ornament above described. The most common
inscriptions are, The Adorer of Ormuzd, the Excellent
Sapor, King of the Kings of Irun, Celestial Germ of the
Gods." On some of the coins he appears with the ancient
Persic crown embroidered with pearls, previously described.
The reverses have generally the fire-altar, guarded by two
armed figures in the Persian costume, with loose trousers,
all Greek character in the costume
having disappeared.
(See Plate VI.)
Hormuz, or Hormisdas I. (from A.D. 273 to 274), was the
son of the preceding, and is described as an excellent prince.
Varhanes,* or Varavanes I. (from A.D. 274 to 277), the son
of the preceding, carried on an unprofitable war against
Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, by whose energy the power of
Persia had received a severe check, and afterwards with the
victorious Aurelian.
Yarhanes II. (from A.D. 277 to 294) was the son of the
preceding. Disputes with the Eomans continued, and he
was defeated, and Ctesiphon and Seleucia taken by the army
under the Emperor Carus but the death of this emperor

prevented the further progress of the Eomans. On the

coinage of Yarhanes II. he is represented wearing very
singular head-dresses sometimes a winged crown supporting

the globe-like ornament the portrait of his

; queen also appears
upon his coins beneath his own portrait. She wears a
rich head-dress,
composed of an ornament in the form
of a boar's head; while a third
figure, that of a boy,
is placed in front of the
royal profile. The boy wears
a cap, terminating in an ornament formed like the head

* This name found in some

histories, spelt as Bahrana, or Bahanes.

of an eagle, and is supposed to be Names, the son of

Varhanes. The reverses have the fire-altar guarded by
armed figures, like those oil the coins of Sapor. Visconti
finds a difficulty in allowing the second figure on this coin to
be a queen, supposing that polygamy then prevailed in
Persia as at present. But, previous to the overthrow of the
Sassanian race of princes by the Mahomedans in the seventh
it is evident that women of rank
century, played a much
more conspicuous part than under the influence of Islamism,
as is proved by the successive reigns of the daughters of
Chosroes II.
VahranesIII. (A.D. 294), eldest son of the preceding, died
after a reign of eight months.
JSTarsi, or Narses (from A.D. 294 to 303), carried on a war

against the Emperor Diocletian, which arose out of the long-

disputed Armenian succession. The result of this war was
the cession of Mesopotamia to the Homans, with the supe-
riority over the kingdoms of Armenia and Iberia, and other
concessions. JSTarses, though vanquished, was a man of
remarkable talents and it has been observed as a singular

coincidence, that he, the vanquished, and Diocletian, the

vanquisher, both became disgusted with absolute power,
and retired to private life. Parses died soon after his abdi-
cation. There are good coins of this reign, of the general
character of those previously described.
Hormuz II. (from A.D, 303 to 310) was the son of the
preceding. Nothing remarkable occurred in his reign.
Sapor II. (from A.D. 310 to 381.) This prince, the son of
the preceding, was crowned before he was born, the Magi
having announced that the widowed queen was about to
become the mother of a male child. Cruel persecutions of
the Persian and Armenian Christians took place in this
reign and the successful war against the Romans, carried

through the reigns of Constantius, Julian, and Jovian, ended

in the cession to the Persians of the five provinces beyond
the Tigris, and several important fortresses while the king-

doms of Iberia and Armenia, tributary to Rome, were left to

and completely reduced by Sapor in A.D. 381. He
their fate,
received the SUIT am e of "the Great," and is doubtless one
of the greatest of his race. His coins are numerous, and
resemble in general character those already described.

Ardishir II. (from A. D. 381 to 385) A

prince of the
blood, but not of the direct line, remained at peace with the
Sapor III. (from A. D. 385 to 390.) Another prince of
collateraldescent; sought the alliance of Theodosius the
Great, and restored the independence of Armenia and Iberia.
Varhanes II. (from A. D. 390 to 404), as stated on a rock-
inscription at Kermanshah.
Yezdijird, or Jesdigerd I. (from A. D. 404 to 420) received
the surname of " Alathim" (the sinner), and was a son or
brother of the preceding. He is said to have signed a peace
for a hundred years with the Emperor Arcadius, and was
probably called "the sinner" on account of the toleration
he extended to the Christians, until Abdas, bishop of Susa,
wantonly destroyed a fine Persian temple, on which several
persecutions of the Christians recommenced.
Varhanes V. (from A. D. 420 to 440) was a son of the pre-
ceding. His persecutions of the Christians drove thousands
of his subjects to seek refuge within the Roman dominions,
which led to the division of Armenia into Persian and
Roman Armenia. Varhanes was more successful against the
Huns, Turks, and Indians, and his exploits and adventures
in those wars are celebrated by Persian writers.*
There are coins of all the reigns above named of the usual
The reigns of Tezdijird II. (from 448 to 456), Hormuz III.
(from 458 to 484), and Palash (from A. D. 484 to 488), offer
no events but Christian persecutions that require record here.
Kobad (from A. D. 488 to 498 and, after the usurpation of

Jomaspes, from A. D. 501 to 531) During this reign the

great Persian victories over the armies of the eastern em-
peror, Anastasius, occurred when peace, without sacrifice

of Roman territory, was at length obtained by payment of

eleven thousand pounds of gold. The Romans then con-
structed the famous fortress of Dora, opposite Ctesiphon, on
the spot where the present road descends from the moun-
tains of Mesopotamia to the plains of the south. Kobad
constructed similar fortresses against the Huns, in the defiles
of the Caucasus, now called Demi kapu (" the iron gates.")

* See Sir John Malcolm for

many highly curious and interesting details.

The celebrated Belisarius was engaged in the wars of this

reign. The Persian coins, except the name of the Prince,
offer little variation.
Khosru I., or Chosroes (from A. D. 531 to 579), surnamed
Anushirwan " (the generous mind), was one of the greatest
monarchs of the Sassanidan dynasty. His w ars against

the Romans were so successful that Justinian was compelled

to purchase peace at the expense of a tribute of forty thou-
sand pieces of gold paid annually. His dominions extended
from the Indus to the Bed Sea. He bestowed the greatest
care on the rebuilding and repeopling depopulated cities,
and protected trade, agriculture, and learning, founding an
academy at Gondi-Sapor, where he caused the best Greek
and Latin authors to be translated into Persian. His coin-
age is not so remarkable as one might be led to expect from
his evident protection and culture of the arts in general.
Hormuz V. (from A. D. 579 to 590). The Romans, under
Maurice, were successful in several great battles against the
Persians ;
and Hormuz, after some successes against the
Turks, was seized by the grandees of the kingdom, and sen-
tenced to lose his sight as well as his throne. Buzorg, the
chief minister in the two last reigns, introduced the study of
Indian literature into Persia, and also the noble game of chess.
Varhanes VI. (from A. D. 590 to 591), Chosroes (from A. D.
591 to 628), and Shirweh, or Siroes (628, for a few months),
were the last of the Sassanids. Varanes VI. was unable to
resist the power of Chosroes II., supported by the arms of
the emperor Maurice, but he is nevertheless considered one
of the greatest heroes of the Persian poets and historians.
Chosroes II. continued to live at Constantinople during the
reign of Maurice, so that Persia was completely under the
Grseco-Roman influence. After the death of Maurice (assas-
sinated by the usurper Phocas), Chosroes went to war to
avenge the death of his benefactor; and so great was his
success, that scarcely anything remained of the Roman em-
pire in the east except the city of Constantinople Syria,
Palestine, and Egypt having all fallen under the Persian
yoke. Opposite to the imperial city, at Chalcedon, the
Persians maintained themselves during ten years and it

was not till 621 A. D., that the Emperor Heraclias changed
the face of affairs, and saved the eastern empire recovering
COItfS OE THE SASSAtflD^]. 157

allthe territories as rapidly as they had been lost. Chosroes,

borne down by misfortune, was deposed and murdered by his
son, Shirweh. Chosroes lived in greater magnificence during
his prosperity than any former Persian monarch, and treated
with disdain the summons of Mohammed to embrace the new
doctrine. Shirweh reigned only eight months, but concluded
a peace with Heraclias, restoring all prisoners made during
the war, and also the holy cross, which had been carried away
from Jerusalem by Chosroes. Ardishir, the infant son of
Shirweh, was murdered a few days after the death of his father.
Touran Dokht, a daughter of the last Chosroes, now
reigned a short time, and afterwards her lover and cousin.
Agermi Dokht, another daughter of Chosroes, then held the
supreme power, and she was followed by
Jesdigerd III., (from A.D. 632 to 651), who was said to
be a grandson of Chosroes. This prince, when summoned
by the Caliph, Abu Bekr, to adopt the Mohammedan religion,
refused and in the wars which ensued, the second Persian

empire was swept away in the tide of Moslem conquest, and

Jesdigerd eventually perished in an attempt to regain his
throne his son Peroses entered the service of the emperor

of China, and Persia became a province of the Mohammedan

Towards the beginning of the sixth century of our era, the
art displayed on the Sassanidan coinage begins sensibly to
decline, and gets poorer and more barbarous upon the coins
of each successive prince, with but little change in the
character of the devices the fire-altar being the constant

type of the reverses. The coins of the celebrated Chosroes,

however, are an exception the art displayed on the Persian

coinage seems to have been renovated: and there are

coins of that prince having a full-face portrait which are
far from contemptible the reverse being as usual the

In the reigns of his daughters the coins sink again below
their former barbarism, and without the aid of comparison
with former coins, neither the former Persian head-dress nor
the fire-altar with its attendant guards, could be distinguished.
The inscriptions are, however, sufficiently legible, though
very rude, to leave no doubt as to the correct attribution of
the coins.



This recently discovered series is especially interesting, as

having been the means of recovering many facts concerning
the history of a portion of Asia, which, during a long period,
was lost in obscurity; and also as being the means of
restoring at the same time a lost language the inscriptions
on some of the coins being bilingual, Greek on one side, and
the Indian dialect of the region on the other in the earlier

period a dialect of Sanscrit, and afterwards the Arian

The whole of the vast countries from Bactria to the
provinces bordering on Kabool and the Punjaub, were
subdued and colonised in the great Greek invasion of Asia
under Alexander; and most of them acknowledged the
supremacy of Seleucus Nicator after he had established that
Asiatic dominion generally termed the Syrian empire;
Antiochia, the capital, which he created, being situated in
that province. Even in the reign of the first Seleucus, a
portion of the Punjaub was, after a short war, given up to
a native prince, Chundra Goopta, the Saridracottus of
classical history; and Diodotus satrap of Bactria in the
reign of the Syrian monarch Antiochus II. (from about
261 to 242 B.C.), took the opportunity afforded by the occu-
pation of the forces of that prince in distant wars, to declare
his independence while the secluded position of his usurped

dominion, combined with the revolt of Parthia, which shortly

followed, enabled him to secure permanently the independent
sovereignty he had created. He has been generally known
as Theodotus, later historians following Justin but Strabo

calls him Diodotus, and this form is confirmed by the in-

scription on a rare gold coin in the great French collection,

where the same form is used. This coin has much of the
character of the coins of the Seleucidan series, and is
nearly equal to them in execution.
Diodotus II. (about 240 B.C.) appears to have succeeded
his father in the sovereignty of Bactria, and all the countries
occupied by the Greeks to the east of Parthia. Very little
is known of this
prince, and there are no means of dis-

tinguisliing the coins, which some have attributed to him,

from those of his father.
Euthydemus (220 to 190 B.C.) appears to have obtained
possession of the Bactrian throne about 220 B.C., as is
conjectured, by the expulsion of the younger Diodotus.
From the few scattered passages of historians referring to
this prince, it would seem that he greatly extended the
region possessed by the two Diodotus', father and son; and
so firmly was his dominion established, that he was enabled
successfully to resist the attempt of Antiochus the Great to
regain the lost provinces of Bactria. Silver coins of his
reign are found in considerable numbers at Bokhara, Balkh,
and other places of that region. They have, generally, a
boldly though not finely executed head; and on the reverse
a good figure of Hercules sitting on a lion- skin, and holding a
club, with the inscription, BA2IAEH2 ETEAHMOT the Greek
characters already beginning to show corruptions, which
eventually render them almost illegible in this series.
Demetrius (190 to about 181 B.C.) was, like his father,
cotemporary with Antiochus the Great, whose daughter he
married. His coins are more various than those of his pre-
decessors, and on some he is represented wearing a head-
dress formed of the skin of an elephant and the tusks, in
the style of similar coins of Alexander the Great.
Eucratides (from about 181 to about 150 B.C.). This
prince appears to have revolted from Demetrius while the
latter was engaged in an Indian campaign so that they may

have reigned for some time cotemporaneously, Eucratides

in the north portion of the state, and Demetrius in the
southern or Indian provinces. It appears probable, how-
ever, that Eucratides eventually held all the territories of
former Graeco-Bactrian princes, and even greatly extended
them, in so much that he was styled the lord of a thousand
cities," and assumed the title of Great. He was eventually
assassinated by his son. The abundance of his coins, still
continually found on both sides of the Paropamisus, is an
evidence of his power and wealth. On these coins he is
generally represented wearing a peculiarly formed helmet ;
and on the reverse the Dioscuri are the most common type,
with the inscription, BASIAEHS MEFAAOY ETKPATIAOY, " of the
great king Eucratides," in good Greek characters. Some

of his coins are square, and some of these have the bilingual
inscriptions before referred to, in which case the Greek
inscription surrounds the portrait, and the Indian one is
placed above and below the Dioscuri, on the reverse.
Antimachus, Heliocles, and Agathocles (about 180 to 150
B.C.), appear to have been Greek princes, holding independent
dominion in some portion of those regions cotemporary
with Eucratides and coins have been discovered of each of

them, very similar in style to those of Eucratides, those of

Agathocles being, perhaps, of the best execution.
After the death of Eucratides and his cotemporaries above
mentioned, another group of Greek princes appear, and the
bilingual inscriptions found on some of the coins of that
monarch, now become general. The eastern character is
exhibited more and more on these interesting historic monu-
ments, as the Greek spirit, separated by intervening
barbarism, gradually declined; and we find such titles as
great King of Kings," &c., commonly adopted in the
Erom about 150 to 120 B.C., the names of Menander,
Appollodotus, Diomedes, Zoilus, Hippostratus, Strator, Dio-
nysius, Nicias, and Hermaeus occur. Several, it is probable,
were cotemporary princes of different districts. The coins
of this group of princes are inferior in art to those of the
former; and in the Arian inscription the title "Basileus," or
king, is translated Maharajasa," the term still in use in the
north of India. The author of the " Uepnr\ovs UOVTOV EDl^ou,"
commonly ascribed to Arian, tells us that silver coins
of Menander and Apollodotus, who appear to have been the
most powerful among the last-mentioned princes, were still
in circulation in his day and in modern times, considerable

numbers are found in countries south of the Hindoo Koosh,

and as far east as Jumma.
At aboutthe same period several other Greek princes
appear to have reigned, as Antimachus, Antialcides, Lycias,
Philoxenes, and Auryntus, bearing the title of NIKH4>OPO2
NIKEPHOROS, "the Victorious," on their coins; and others,
as Heliocles,and a queen, Agathocleia, bearing peaceful
titles. Hermaes, a prince of whom some coins have reached
us, and whose coins bear the portrait of his queen, Calliope,
on the reverse, appears to have been the last of the race of

Greek princes in this region, which was subdued, about

120 B.C., by the Scythian, Azes.
Azes and Maues (from about 120 to 115 B.C.). These
Scythian conquerors, who appear to have swept away the
Greek and Parthian power from Bactria and
last vestige of
the Indian provinces, yet adopted the style of coinage which
they found in use, just as, four centuries before, the Persian
Darius Hystaspes copied the Greek coinage which he found
in use in Asia Minor.
Maues and Azes were apparently coteniporary but, for ;

the sake of clearness, the coins of the former may be men-

tioned first, and separately. They exhibit a rapid transition
towards barbarism, both in the style of art and that of the
inscriptions. The latter are at first simply copied from the
earliest Greco-Bactrian style, as simply BA2iAEn2 MATOT,
of the king Maues ;" then BASIAEHS MEFAAOY MAYOT,
"of the great or mighty king Maues;" lastly, he styles
himself " great King of Kings," on coins similar to those of
The best-known coins of Azes represent the king holding
a kind of three-pronged spear, resembling a trident, said to
be a national Tartar weapon, and placing his foot on the
shoulder of a fallen enemy. Nine varieties are known of the
coins of Maues, and many more of Azes.
Azilises (about 115 to 90 B.C.) coined with similar titles
to those of Azes and Maues.
Yonones, Spalirius, and Spalypius (from about 90 to
60 B.C.) are names occurring on coins which are placed in
the Greco-Bactrian series. They, from the names, appear to
have been Parthian princes, who recovered portions of
Bactria from the rule of Scythian conquerors. Coins of
another prince, styling himself " great Saviour King," with-
out a name, are attributed to this period and another set

of Scythian coins, having no Arian translations of the in-

scriptions, occur about this time, the Greek being scarcely
decipherable, but the names of Kodes and Hykrodes have
beendistinctly made out.
The conquests of Vikramaditya occurred about
this time ;

but no coins have been found which can with safety be

attributed to him.
The Kadphises dynasty (from about 50 B.C. to 50 A.D.),

after occupying the chief power in northern India and

Bactria for some time, issued a gold coinage, none other being
known of the Bactrian and Indian series, except a few
unique gold of the earliest Greek princes. Previous to the
issue of this gold coinage, with its corresponding pieces of
silver, the terms of Korso, Koranos, Zathos, and Kozoulo
are found, which seem to be titles lower than royalty, while on
the gold coinage, the Greek Basileus (king) is found, and its
corresponding Arian title, Maharaja which would seem to

prove that at that epoch the power of the dynasty had greatly
extended, and induced the chief to assume a title which he had
not previously adopted. A Greek inscription surrounds the
figure of the prince, styling him King of Kings," &c., &c.;

and on the reverse the Arian inscription reads, " MAHAKA-

DHI MAKADPHISHASA N AND ATA," which may be trans-
lated, Of the Great Sovereign, King of Kings, everywhere
seizing the earth, Dhima (or Vohima) the Saviour."
These coins display nothing of the Greek character of art
except the inscription on the obverse, which is scarcely
legible. The portrait of the king, instead of being a large,
boldly-executed head, is, as in the case of some of the coins
of Azes, a full figure, of barbaric execution. He wears the
Tartar costume, and points to a pile of loaves of bread. On
his right is the Tartar weapon resembling a trident and on

his left, beneath a curious monogram, also found on the coins

of the earlier Greek princes, is the club of Hercules, the only
remaining symbol of the Greek mythology, which on the
reverse has entirely given way to emblems belonging to the
Budhist creed, where Siva and the Nandi bull are easily
recognised. This introduction of Budhist symbols had already
commenced with the coinage of Azes. The coins of the whole
dynasty bear the name of Kadphises, the founder, as in
the Parthian series -the name of the founder, Arsaces, is
adopted by all
subsequent princes ;
and this custom was
doubtless copied from them by the less civilised Scythian
princes, their neighbours.
Undophones, Gondophones, Abgasus, Abalgasus, and
Pakores (from about 40 to 80A.D.), are names apparently of
Parthian princes, who appear to have possessed part of
Afighanistan about this period. Pakores, however, whose

coins have been found at Kandahar, is not supposed to

belong to the dynasty of Undophones.
Kanerkis and his dynasty (from about 100 to 200A.D.).
The coins of this new race of Scythian princes of Bactria and
India are very remarkable, as their inscriptions are in Greek
only, the Arian legend being altogether abandoned. The
Greek characters are, however, so debased as to be scarcely
decipherable. The title assumed is generally BASIAETS
BA2IAEHN (BASILEUS BASILEON), " King of Kings," and the
dynastic name of the founder, as on the coins of the Kadphises
dynasty, &c.,&c., on the whole series, KANHPKOT (KANERKOU),
in the genitive case. In the latter coins of this dynasty the
Greek title Basileus is abandoned, and the Indian Rano
Nano Rao adopted in its stead, but still written in Greek
characters. On a coin of this dynasty, struck as late as
A.D. 200, the prince is represented riding on an elephant;
and on the reverse is a Mithraic representation of the sun,
the head of which, as well as that of the prince on the
obverse, is surrounded by a kind of nimbus, or glory,
similar to that given by the early Christians to their repre-
sentations of the evangelists and apostles. This resumption
of exclusively Greek inscriptions at this epoch, may
probably be attributed to a certain renovation of the
decaying Grecian influence, by the temporary rule of the
Parthian dynasty of Gondophorus in a portion of these
After this dynasty, the coins of Bactria and Northern India
become altogether Asiatic in character, and lose all traces
of Greek influence. They may, therefore, be considered to
belong to modern history, as they are thus more internally
connected with the modern than the ancient series, which
latter may be considered to terminate with the total disuse
of Greek inscriptions.
I shall not
attempt to trace the progress of the modern
Asiatic coinages, which would carry me far beyond the limits
of this work and I shall, therefore, in reference to modern

coins, be compelled to conflne myself to the English series,

which will very completely illustrate the progress of the art
after the fall of the Roman
The greater number of facts connected with the Bactrian
series described in this chapter are of quite recent discovery.
M 2

Sir Alexander Burnes, after his mission to Kabool, was one

of the first to call attention to these interesting remains (or
rather consequences) of the conquests of Alexander the
Great, which still abound in that region of Asia while the

greater number of coins have been discovered in the tombs

recently explored by M. Court and General Allard. The
works of Lassen, Prinsep, and Wilson will be found to
contain all the most recent information on the subject.


THE coins of the Princes of Pontus, and the Cimmerian

Bosphorus, have been united in one series, in consequence
of the late kings of Pontus having possessed also the
Bosphorus and, eventually, lost the former, and succeeded

to the latter, which remained independent, though not under

the same race, throughout nearly the whole period of the
Roman empire. The Bosphorus was a very much more
ancient state than Pontus, and its foundation belongs to the
most ancient periods of history. No coins, however, are
known previous to those of Leucon.
Dates are frequentlyfound on the coins of the Pontic series,
which refer to those distant eras. The era of Pontus, from
which some of the coins are dated, corresponds to 301 B.C.,
which is used till the reign of Polemon I. the Ca3sarean

era is employed by Polemon II., and the Queen Pythodoris ;

and the eras of the reign of Asandre and Polemon II., are
found only on the coins of those princes.
The coins of Leucon, who reigned from 393 to 353 B.C.,
bear a head of Hercules in the style of the tetradrachm
of Alexander the Great, and on the reverse a club and a
bow, with the inscription BA2iAEri(2) AETKnN(OT).
The next coins known, are some of Perisades, who reigned
in the year 289 B.C. The one before me is a gold coin, a
fine imitation of the gold stater of Lysimachus, but with

the inscription BASIAEHS nAiPHAiAor it has also the letters


HAN for Panticape, the capital of the Leuconidean princes.

Perisades, unable to resist the inroads of the barbaric
tribes, who now began to press upon the eastern portions
of Europe, and western Asia, gave up his kingdom to
Mithridates VI. (the Great), king of Pontus.
The kingdom of Pontus, as is well known, was not estab-
lished till the conquest of Persia by Alexander, when
Mithridates II., was hereditary satrap of this portion of the
Persian empire. No coins are attributed to the satrap
Mithridates II.
Mithridates III. (from 302 to 266 B.C.). The coins of this
prince, who was of the royal family of Persia, bear secondary
types of the crescent moon and of the sun, symbolic like
the Persian name Mithridates of the origin of the kings of
Pontus the reverse of this tetradrachm is a copy of those

of Alexander.
Mithridates IV., Pharnaces I., and Mithridates V., next
occupy the throne of Pontus to the two latter of which,

magnificent gold decadrachms were attributed, which are

now considered forgeries, but not upon grounds altogether
satisfactory, as they bear great marks of genuineness yet,

as Mionnet and other great authorities have condemned

them, I must pass to the coins of Mithridates VI. (the Great)
from 123 to 63 B.C., the celebrated rival of the Romans.
The stag, the flying horse, and the bull, found on coins
of this king, and termed his guardians, are all animals con-
nected with the religion of Mithra and Ormuzd. One of the
coins of Mithridates is engraved in Plate VI.
There are coins of Pharnaces II., from 63 to 47 B.C., son
of the great Mithridates, on which he terms himself " King
of Kings," and sometimes great king of kings, perhaps after
his re-conquest of Pontus he was defeated by Ca?sar, and

perished in a battle with his revolted general, Asander.

Asander first styled himself Governor of the Bosphorus,
but on late coins he assumes the name of king.
At the death of Asander and his son Darius, who had
been acknowledged by Marc Antony, Polemon I., originally
an adventurer (from 37 to 14 B.C.) was placed on the throne,
by Antony, and eventually acknowledged by Augustus.
To strengthen his claims he first married the daughter of

Pharnaces II. (Dynamis), who had before been married to

the usurper. She died, leaving no children, and he then
married Pythodoris. After resisting with success the at-
tacks of the Aspurgitans, he was eventually taken prisoner
and put to death by them. His widow still opposed them
with spirit and, though driven out of the Bosphorus, still

preserved Pontus.
The coins of Polemon I. have the head of Polemon on one
side, and that of Augustus on the other. There are also
coins of his widow, with the head of Tiberius on the obverse,
and BA2IM22A nrOAnpKETor2, (A.D. 60), and a pair of
scales on the reverse.
Polemon II. died about A.D. 37. On coins of this prince
his queen Tryphene appears, a personage not mentioned in
In the reigns of Claudius and Caligula many changes
and new arrangements of territory took place, in which
Polemon II, was eventually set aside altogether. Polemon
married, secondly, the celebrated Berenice, from whom he
was soon separated.
Pontus had now become part of the E/oman empire but ;

the Bosphorus was conquered from the last branches of

the Pontic family by the Aspurgitans.
Bhescuporis I., and Sauromates I., are two princes of the
Aspurgitans, whose coins now appear in the series of those
of the Bosphorus. Those of Sauromactes have the inscrip-
tion, SATPHMATOT, with the title of king ;
and on the reverse
the head of a queen, Pepaepiris. Those of Ehescuporis I.
have his name (abbreviated, round the head on the obverse),
and 011 the reverse the head of Caligula, with the legend,
TAIOC KAICAP, (Caius Caesar,) the name of Caligula not
occurring on coins.
It wou]d be impossible to condense even a brief view of
the revolutions of the Bosphorus from Polemon II. to Ehes-
cuporis III. In the space I can here assign to the subject,
it must suffice to state that the first
Aspurgitan princes are
stated to have held power for the following periods Ehes-

cuporis I., uncertain Sauromates I., from A.D. 6 to A.D. 17

; ;

Ehescuporis II., from A.D. 17 to A.D. 34 Ehescuporis III.,


from A.D. 34 to A.D. 47 and that Mithridates, a personage


pretending to be a descendant of Mithridates the Great, was


put forward by Claudius, and reigned in parts of the country

from A.D. 41 to A.D. 46. In the meantime, his brother,
Cotys, by assuming on his coin the national name of the
Aspurgitans, and having also procured the protection of the
Romans, secured to himself a long reign, and appears to
have been more powerful and wealthy than his predecessors,
as we find him issuing a gold coinage, the first of the
remarkable series of gold coins of this dynasty.
Cotys I. (from A.D 46 to A.D. 69.) On the coins of the
predecessors of Cotys, a portrait of a Roman emperor had
been placed on one side of the national coin,* but Cotys was
not content with this degree of adulation, and placed an
effigy of the emperors of Rome on each side of his gene-
rally his first protector, Claudius, on one side, and the
reigning emperor on the other, down to Yitellius his own ;

personal share in the types of his coinage being confined to

a monogram, principally formed of BA K for BA (ao-Xews) K.

(OTVOS) of the king Cotys." Many of his coins have the
names of the various emperors and empresses found on them,
inscribed round the bust, in Greek, as on that of JS"ero,
Nero Claudius Caesar; " and on the reverse, round the portrait
of Poppeia, nonEiA CEBACTOT " of Poppeia Augusta."
These coin are small bronze. On following coins, however,
an inscription accompanies either the portrait of Yitellius,
or that of his son on the reverse but the latter has the

monogram of Cotys below it, and the. date EET (365).

The date of the death of Cotys is uncertain but none of ;

his coins bear the portraits of later emperors than Vespasian,

while those attributed to Rhescuporis IV., bear the portrait
of Domitian, but the time of his accession is unknown.
Rhescuporis IV. (reigning in A.D. 84) restored the line of
the native Aspurgitan or Sarmatian princes. The coins of this
prince are the first in which the final mode of arranging the
types seems to have been settled, which continued afterwards
through the whole of the series, namely, the head of the
native prince on the obverse, accompanied by his name and

* Some Rhescu-
suppose that no national portrait appears on this series till

f The square sigma C being used instead of 2, common at that period.

title, and that of the reigning Roman emperor on the reverse,

with the date. The portrait of Ehescuporis IV. is by some
thought the first portrait of this line of princes,the former

ones, or those thought to be so, wearing short hair after

the Roman fashion while in the present instance the hair

flows over the shoulders after the manner of the barbarians.

The inscription is BACIAEWC PHCKOTIIOPIAOC "of the king
Rhescuporis ;" and, beneath the head of the Roman emperor,
Domitian, on the reverse, is the date nT (380) of the era of
the Bosphorus.
Sauromates II. reigned contemporaneously with Trajan
and Hadrian the earliest dates on his coins are nine years

after the last of Rhescuporis IV., and the latest, six years
before the earliest of Cotys II. The coins of Sauromates II.
are more commonly bronze.
Cotys II. (cotemporary of Hadrian) issued some very neatly
executed gold coins, similar in style to those of his prede-
cessor of the same name all bearing the date 426 of the

Rhemetalces, a cotemporary of Hadrian and Antonius, is
thought to have been a brother of Cotys II., and son of
Sauromates II., and to have reigned some time in conjunction
with his brother. The first date on his coins is 428 the ;

last 452 154) many are gold.

(A.D. ;

Eupator, a contemporary of Marcus Aurelius. His coins

have the inscription B AC lAEwC EYHATOC (of the king Eupator),
and, from the name, he is supposed to have been a descendant,
or pretended descendant, of the old Pontic line and he;

made several attempts to obtain possession of the throne in

the two previous reigns. His first dates are 452. and
his last, 467. An interesting specimen of his coins, is the
one bearing on the reverse the profiles of the emperors
M. Aurelius and L. Verus, face to face, with the date
AET (461).
The examples already described, will convey a pretty
accurate idea of the nature and style of this series. I must,
therefore, now confine myself to giving a list of all the
remaining princes, of whom coins are known.
Sauromates III., from M. Aurelius to Septimus Severus.
Rhescuporis IV. or V., cotemporary with the emperors
Caracalla to A. Severus, on reverses.

Cotys III., cotemporary with Alexander Severus.

Sauromates IY., from 526 to 529 date of the Bosphorus.

Inithimeus, from 531 to 535.

Ehescuporis VI., from 521 to 549.
Pharauses, cotemporary with Emilianus and Valeriamis.
Ehescuporis VII., from 552 to 564 date of the Bosphorus.

Sauromates V., cotemporary of Tacitus or Probus.

Twanis, cotemporary of Probus.
Thothorses, (575 to 600) cotemporary of Diocletian.
Ehadamses, (605 to 616) cotemporary of Constantino the
Ehescuporis VIII., from 610 to 616, cotemporary of
Constantino the Great, who appears to have shared the
crown with Ehadamses during six years.
We learn that the last sovereign of the Bosphorus, of the
line I have been treating of, perished in single combat with
Pharnaces, chief of the Chevronites and the kingdom of the

Bosphorus passed under the sway of that people, of whom

no coins are known. Thus ended the independence of
the Bosphorus, which had existed for eight centuries,
reckoning from the earliest reigns (about 480 B.C.) to
about the year 330 of our era. This series of coins has fur-
nished a most important succession of dates, the more valuable
and as they are accompanied by portraits of
Eoman emperors, serving to test their accuracy. The
art of this series of coins declines greatly towards its close, as
will be seen by the examination of any well-furnished cabinet.
The gold coins disappear after Cotys III., when a few silver
appear, which are succeeded by rude small bronze. The
one of Inithimeus represents the profile of that prince
facing that of the goddess Astarte, as some have supposed ;
but, as it is a turreted head, after the manner in which Greek
towns were personified, it may be the city of Constantinople,
which is the more probable, as no Eoman type appears on
the reverse in this case, which is occupied by a figure, also
described as Astarte ;
but these are mere conjectures.
That of the last prince, Ehescuporis VIII., is more barbarous
it has an
still ;
attempt to represent the king's portrait, with
the Paltidamentum, and the inscription is BACiAEwC (prja-xco)
nopiC while on the reverse is the head of Constantino the

Great, with a radiated crown, and the date ix (614) and

A and Y in the field, the import of which is unknown.
170 COINS or GAUL.



THE southern portion of Gaul became subject to Grecian

influence at a very early period, by the settlement of a
Phocean colony, who founded the celebrated city anciently
called Massilia, now Marseilles.
The earliest coin attributed to this Gallo- Grecian city is
a small silver piece, bearing the mark of great antiquity in
the rude hollow punch-mark at the back, while the obverse
bears the original type of the Phoceans the phoca, or seal.
But it is not with the coins of the Greeks themselves that
I have to do in this chapter, but with those of the Gauls, as
influenced first by the Greek and then by the Roman arts of
The progress of the coinage of a single city will serve to
explain the march of monetary transition better than an
attempt at a general classification, which, in the excessively
limited space which could be here assigned to it, would, in
fact, be impracticable.
The city of Nemausis (the present Nismes) will perhaps
suit the purpose better than any other. The fabulous
of this ancient city ascribes its foundation to Hercules, from
whose son, Nemausus, it received its name. Hercules is said,
in his western voyages to have landed in Gaul, near the mouth
of the Rhone, and to have been opposed by Ligur and Albion,
sons of Neptune, from the former of which names the Gallic
tribe of this district took the name of Ligurians. Hercules,
having exhausted all his arrows, was about being overcome

by the native chiefs, when Jupiter sent a shower of stones,

by which his enemies were dispersed. This conflict is said to
have taken place in a valley known as the valley de la Crau*
* A plain situate between Oale and the sea ;
the term Crau is in Celtic a

a place still strewn over with round boulders of various

sizes. "If," says M. La Saussaye, "we substitute for this
ingenious fable the simple fact of a landing of Phoenicians,
with ihe intention of establishing a colony, who, after they
had exhausted other means of attack, resorted to the plenti-
ful supply of stone ammunition which the locality afforded,
we shall probably be near the real manner of the first esta-
blishment of a more civilised race in this region."
The earliest coins of Nemausus, no doubt executed by
means of Grecian or Phoenician artists, have a head of the
hero Nemausus, after the manner of that of Byzas on the
coins of Byzantium, and, on the reverse, a figure of one of
the Dioscuri.
At a later period, as Phoenician and Greek influence de-
clined, we find coins that may be considered native,* which
have the ancient Gallic symbol of the wild boar for principal
type, and the inscription NAMASAT, and in the exergue, 2AT,
the name, perhaps, of a magistrate or priest, and on the other
side the head of Apollo.
After this period the next marked change occurs after the
campaigns of Caesar, when we find a head of Pallas on the
coins of this place, and, on the reverse, the letters NEM-COL,
in Roman characters, intimating that it had become a
Roman colony. Beyond this period, the coinage belongs to
the Roman period, when it will be again referred to.
But the Grecian influence had been reaching Gaul in
another direction, at a later period, by the north of Mace-
donia and along the feet of the Alps. Macedonian and
other Greek money reached Gaul at an early period by this
route, and the rude copies of Grecian coinage executed in these
districts attest the fact. The copies of the gold staters of
Philip would alone furnish a curious suite, reaching, as they
do, from tolerable rough imitations, down to the most bar-
baric and distant likeness to the originals that can be con-
ceived. Copies of the tetradrachms of Alexander the
Great were also struck in great numbers and the head thus

imitated, found its way to Jersey and to the coinage of

Britain, where still more barbarous imitations are to be
found. On comparing such coins with tetradrachms of Alex-

* These
are termed Greek by M. La Saussaye.

ander the Great (PL VI.), the resemblance may be easily

traced. But in some places, within the influence of the Greek
city of Massilia, a few strictly G-allic coins are known, which
are, nevertheless, well executed ;
as an example of which, I
may cite one with the portrait and attributes of the Druid
Abaris. But shortly previous to the Roman invasion of Caesar,
the chiefs of different G-allic tribes appear to have copied the
manner of Greek princes in striking coins with their own
portraits, and coins are known bearing the portrait of the
chief who is called by Caesar Epaspactus," but which, as
written on the coins, should be " Epadnactus." We have
also coins of the brave but unfortunate Vercingetorix, and
several others.
The the two above-mentioned chiefs, convey
coins of
an idea of the That of Vercingetorix
style of the others,
has the inscription INCETORIXS, and is of a debased
Grecian style of art while that of Epadnactus is much

more Roman in style, especially the reverse.

Among other Gaulish coins of chiefs or kings, are those
of Vergasillaunus (chief), Adictuanus (king), Litovicus
(chief), &c.
Gaulish coins of towns and cities also exist in some
number and variety those of Rhotomagus, now Rouen, for

instance, which have a female head on the obverse, sometimes

with the inscription SVTICOS, and on the reverse, two horses
coupled, and the inscription RATVMACOS. Of Tornacum,
now Tournaye, there are coins which have a beardless
head, wearing a helmet, on the obverse, with DURNACOS ;

and on the reverse, a spear, and, AUSCRO. Of Calletes,

the chief town of a people inhabiting the north bank
of the Seine, now called the Pays de Caux, the coins
have on the obverse a copy of the Consular Roman
quinarius, and are about its size and weight, though
they bear the numeral X, expressing the value of the
denarius ;
011 the reverse is a horse galloping, with
the legend, in Greek characters, KAAAETEAOT of the
Calleteans. The singular mixture of Roman and Greek
characteristics in this coin, is one of the peculiarities of
Gaulish coins. The Celtic was a spoken, and not a written
language ;
and when it was found necessary to inscribe
legends on coins, the Roman and Greek characters were

adopted indifferently, and strange mixtures of the two

occasionally occur. On the oldest coins the Greek predomi-
nates ; but as the epoch when an original coinage began to
be issued in G-aul was not long before the Roman conquest,
and after the splendour of Greek civilisation had given way
before the legions of B/ome, in Asia as well as in Europe,
it is easy to conceive that the Roman influence would
coin of the Auberici Eburovices whose chief town was
Evreux, will serve to exhibit the barbarous style of some of
these Gaulish coins.
The principal type is the ancient Gaulish symbol the
wild boar by some supposed to be trampling on a standard,
perhaps to record some successful resistance to the power
of Rome. The inscription is EBVR.


Spain, like Gaul, was early colonised by the Greeks and;

there are beautiful coins of the Greek colonisers of the

Spanish Peninsula, but not equal to those of other places.
The Carthaginian colony of Gades (Cadiz), was also the
means of spreading civilisation among the native Spanish
people of different tribes and of this union of Greek and

Phoenician, civilisation, acting simultaneously upon the

development of this people, we find a remarkable monument
in the Celtiberian alphabets, which offer singular combi-
nations of the Phoenician and Greek characters, probably
intermixed at the same time with some native elements.
The inscriptions on the autonomous coins of Spain in several
distinct dialectsand alphabets, have consequently been but
imperfectly deciphered. The confusion of alphabets in
Spain was, indeed, noticed even by Strabo ; and we have less
means at our command now, most certainly, than had the
learned Roman. The Iberians claimed very high antiquity
for their written language, which, there is reason to believe,
had its origin in Baetica. That it came originally from the
East, appears certain, as the legends on some coins read from
right to left, with the vowels suppressed, a certain indication
of eastern origin and that it was brought to them at an

early period by the Phoenicians, long before the Carthaginian


colonies, appears equally probable. The modern Basque is

evidently a remnant of the Celtiberian language, which was
eventually formed by the amalgamation of Phoenician and
Greek elements with its own, and the native races driven
gradually into the mountains of the north of Spain, preserved
their ancient language ; just as the Welsh have preserved
the ancient British. A remarkable affinity has been, con-
sequently, here observed between many Basque words and
the inscriptions on Celtiberian coins ;
and through that
means Guilleaume Yon Humboldt conceived that the only
safe interpretations can take place. One peculiarity of some
of the inscriptions is, instead of being in the genitive, as on
Greek coins, or in the nominative, as 011 Homan money,
they appear to be in the ablative, ending in es or as as
in the modern Basque, in which language, Bayonas expresses,
by Bayonne ; Gruizonas, by the man. As examples, the fol-
lowing may be cited : the characters are read as Irsones,
which, it appears, expresses (money struck by) BY Irson ;
or, the characters reading as, Bursabes, which, according to
the same principle, is (money struck) BY Bursaba, or, by
the people of Bursaba.
M. de Saulcy gives translations of many legends, among
which the following may serve as examples ; and though
the respective sounds and values of the Celtiberian must
be regarded as far from being yet fully explained, yet
there is no doubt that many legends have been properly
interpreted, and the correct distribution of the various con-
flicting characters to the different distinct dialects to which
they probably belong, will possibly be the means of finally
settling the question.
The following are, as I have said, a few examples of inter-
pretation generally felt to be correct, showing the manner
in which the vowels are occasionally suppressed in the
Oriental manner for instance, in Ileosken (Ileosca) the e

of the last syllable being omitted, as it is in the genitive

case, signifies (money of) the Ileoscans, or of Ileosca.
The characters read as Ilibereken, and those read as
Iliberinelcen, are examples, in which other vowels are
suppressed in a similar manner; and the correct inter-
pretation of these synonymous names appears borne out
by the names given by Pliny, which he describes as

"Eliberi quod Liberia! ;" * and Pliny, as M. de Saulcy

observes, and proves by a long list compared with coins,
has given the names of the Spanish towns more correctly
than any other ancient author.
The antiquity of the bulk of Spanish coins with inscrip-
tions in the different dialects of the Celtiberian language,
does not seem to be greater than about two centuries before
the Christian era, if so old. Those coins with Punic or
Greek inscriptions, are more ancient, but they may be con-
sidered rather as belonging to Greek or Carthaginian colo-
nies than to Spanish races t and, as such, resemble too

closely those of other Greek colonies to require notice here.

But the Roman influence, after the war with Carthage and
the invasion of her Spanish colonies, became predominant in
Spain, and the weights and types of the great bulk of the
Celtiberian coins, both silver and copper, are evidently mo-
delled on the Roman; the silver being varied copies of the
consular Denarius, and the copper of the parts of the As,
as in the Grseco-Italic cities when subjected to Rome. Some,
however, near the Greek Emporia, or Rhoda, are Greek,
with Greek inscriptions, as those near the Carthaginian
city of Gades, now Cadiz, have generally Punic inscriptions. J
The silver coin of Iliberis (the iXXi/Sepis of Ptolemy) of
which the translation has just been given, is evidently
modelled upon the consular Denarius of the Eomans. The
head, however, represents a native chief, and the Dioscuri
have become native warriors.
As the Roman power became settled over the whole
country, the head of the Roman emperor is, after the time
of Augustus, placed upon the" Spanish coinage, of which the
copper coins of the city of Bilbilis may be cited as example.
After the time of Caligula, even the degree of nationality
thus remaining was swept away, and the coinage of Rome
alone circulated in Spain, with the exception of the few
favoured cities which were made Roman colonies, and which

* Lib. iii. i.
+ Though they were doubtless imitated by neighbouring inland communi-
ties such imitations being the rude coins with Greek types and Greek or
Punic inscriptions.
J See Roman coinage and coinage of Magna Grsecia.
Situate on a hill near Grenada, called Sierra de Elvira.

preserved the right of striking their own money, the descrip-

tion of which belongs to the Roman series, under the head
of Homan colonial coins.
It will at once be evident to the student that to facilitate
certain interpretations in Celtiberian inscriptions, such
distinct characters as those corresponding to the vowel O
and the consonant R, are made homophonous while such ;

discrepancy could not exist if .the true value of all the

characters were fully ascertained.*


(See Plate of English Coins.)

At what period the Britons began to make use of coins is

a point involved in great obscurity for no Grecian colonies

ever planted themselves on the shores of Britain to mark

an epoch, and bring with them the knowledge of the use of
a national coinage as a medium of exchange instead of
barter, as they did on the shores of France and Spain.
The Phoenicians are known, however, to have traded with
Britain, and through them, though no early Phoenician
coinage is known, they may have learned the art so practised
by the Greeks.
Very rude coins of tin, the metal for which the island
was celebrated in early times, are occasionally found, which,
although the state of their fabric, rude as it is, does not
belong to the earliest epoch of the art, when one side only
received an impression, yet might be assigned to the fourth
century B.C. This is, however, quite conjectural, as these
rude coins have never as yet received the accurate attention
of numismatists. It is certain, however, that they belong
to a totally different class, both as to weight, value, and
types, from those generally assigned to about the period
of Caesar's invasion.
As far as my own experience goes, there
another class
of British coins which may with be
tolerable certainty
assigned to a period considerably earlier than the invasion

* See Celtiberian
Alphabet in Appendix.

of Caesar. These are the coins without the name of any

British city or prince, and which are evidently debased
copies of the Macedonian coinages of Philip and Alexander,
the head of Apollo on the Philips, and the biga on the
reverse, being easily traceable on the one and the head of

Alexander (or Hercules), wearing the lion-skin, on the

other. The monetary issues, both of Philip and his son,
Alexander, are known to have spread widely into barbarous
nations, and copies of every degree of successive rudeness
are found from many bad imitations to almost indistin-
guishable ones. Imitations of the Alexandrian type are
very common in France, and have been found also in
Jersey, and more rarely in Britain but imitations of the biga

type of the Philips are abundant in England. These coins have

neither been collected nor described with the same accuracy
and frequency as coins bearing the names of British
princes, and as they thus do not play a conspicuous part in
scientific works on the subject, they have been proportion-

ately neglected by ordinary collectors. These British coins,

as also those dating after the invasion of Caesar, are generally
much thicker in their proportion than the Greek coinage
of the period of Philip and Alexander, which would tend
to the supposition that the Britons had previously imitated
Greek coins of the earlier epochs, when they were of thick
proportion, like the British just described, the originals
of which, like those of the late style, came to them through
Gaul. If this was the case, we can imagine that they only
changed their types at the later period, preserving the ancient
mode of fabric as adjusted perhaps to a special and conve-
nient standard. If this theory be true, it will account for
the thick lumpish form of the British coins just alluded to.
The passage of Caesar, relating to the coinage he found in
circulation, is of doubtful import.
All the earliest coins, with names of British cities or
princes, may be safely attributed to the period between the
invasion of Caesar and the complete subjugation of the island
by Claudius. The adoption of the Eoman alphabet for the
inscriptions, and the Latinised forms of the native names
of towns and princes being evidence of direct Eoman
influence. The native princes, after the Eoman invasion,
appear almost immediately to have commenced striking

money, bearing the names of cities and chiefs, after the

manner of Graul and Spain and of British coins of this

class a considerable variety exists.

Caesar distinctly states, that the portion of the island
which he Cantium (Kent), was ruled by petty kings,

by four of whom he was attacked 011 his first landing. He

also speaks ofComius, a prince of the Atrebates, as a chief
of considerable influence. Coins, bearing the inscription
fore, considered to have been struck by children of the
Comius mentioned by Caesar that is supposing the inscrip-

tion to be intended to read EPPILLVS COMl(i) F(ilius).

The coins of Eppillus have generally a horseman on the
side with the name and sometimes, on the reverse, a Victory,

recopied, no doubt, from already existing copies of the

staters of Alexander.
On other coins, of a similar class, the names of Segonax,
one of the four kings who attacked Caesar's naval camp and
Calle, occur, with the title of Rex.
Of the same class, are coins bearing the names Camulo-
dunum, the modern Colchester and Verlamium (the Veru-

lamium of the Romans), the site of the modern St. Albans.

The latter have the inscription VERLAMIO, in the compart-
ments of a geometrical ornament, possibly in the ablative
case, after the manner of Celtiberian coins of the period,
expressing, by Verlamium, by which was understood, money
struck by the community of Verlamium. On the obverse
inscription, in all the simplicity of an
is a cow, without
ancient Greek type. Those of Colchester have an ear of wheat
for type, and CAMV on the reverse and on the obverse, a

horse, &c., with CVN, the initial letters of the name of

The most numerous British coins of this class, are those
bearing the name of Cunobelinus, the Cymbeline of
Shakespeare, who is stated by Geoffrey of Monmouth, to
have been educated at Rome, and whose coins are generally
of a very superior class, and bear strong marks of Roman,
This name is frequently accompanied by one appearing to
be Tasciovanus, and which is sometimes accompanied by F.
Mr. Birch, of the British Museum, has interpreted one of

these inscriptions as Tasciovan(i) Films, the son of

Tasciovanus, as on the coins of Augustus that sovereign
describes himself as the son of Julius Caesar, by whom he
had been adopted. There is an extraordinary variety of
types upon British coins, bearing the names of Cunobelinus,
some of which are fairly executed. One well-known variety
has on the obverse a bust wearing a helmet, and the
inscription CVNOBELINVS in full ;
on the reverse, TASCIO-
VANI. F., above a wild boar. It has been considered some-
what extraordinary that the name of Tasciovanus, so fre-
quently found on British coins, should not be anywhere
mentioned by historians. But it appears possible, that his
name if it be indeed that of a chief ought to be sought
among the petty sovereigns of Gaul rather than Britain,
as the wild boar is a strictly Gallic type of high antiquity;

and it is well known that many British chiefs, who became

powerful, were of immediate Gallic descent of which King
Arthur, is a later example.
There are coins, of similar fabric, but of a somewhat
later period, which from the inscription BODVOS, &c., have
been attributed to Boadicea. These exist both in gold and
silver ;indeed, many of the British coins above alluded to
are found in gold, electrum, silver, and copper.
The subsequent progress of the coinage of Britain, belongs
first to the Roman period, and then to modern history, both
of which epochs will be noticed in chronological order.







THE modern term coin is derived from the Latin cuneus,
a wedge or punch, by means of which the type was impressed
upon the coin. But we have received the term more
immediately from the old Prench coigne, a corruption of
cuneus, the same instrument as that used by the ancients
having remained in use till the operation of hammering was
discontinued in consequence of the adoption of the screw
press, supposed to have been first introduced in France by
Nicholas Brot, in the reign of Louis XIII. about 1620 or 30.
The term money (moneta) was in use among the Romans,
with the same meaning as it bears among modern nations
and originated, as is well known, from the circumstance of
the Roman standards of weight, measure, and money, being
preserved in the temple of Juno Moneta. But this term
belongs to the Roman monetary terms rather than the Greek.
It will therefore be alluded to in greater detail in the article
on the weights, names, and values of Roman money.
Our term numismatics, numismatography, &c. &c., by
which the science of the study of coins is known, we also
receive from the Romans, it being formed of the later term
nummus, or numus, money but the Romans received it from

the Greeks, the original Greek word being nomos, (i/ojuos) law,
of which the more common Greek term, nomisma, * (i/ofuo-fia)
a piece of money, is formed, a name expressing that the

* Aristotle in
defining voiJ.iffp.ay traces its origin to the necessity felt of
obviating the inconvenience of direct barter.

weight, purity, and value of the coins were determined and

guaranteed by law. The term xpw aTa (chremata) was also
used to express money, or property, by the Greeks, in proof
of which the following passage is cited by Eckhel from

(Money, money, man !)

The term xPW ara is no doubt derived from

(chrema) a thing necessary or useful, money being the
means of procuring all things useful, just as XP !^ expresses 1

the want of necessaries, and as xpj^ara, applied to money,

expresses property, or possession, as the opposite to
I may mention here, though I shall have to recur to the
same subject again, under the head of silver money of the
Greeks, &c., that among the European Greeks (especially
the Athenians) money was also known as apyvpiov from
apyvpos (silver) just as argent expresses money with the
modern French ;
and silver and money were also synonymous
terms with the Hebrew people, a denomination which it
will easily be conceived arose in both cases from the circum-
stance that silver formed the great bulk of the currency in
those countries, and in fact the Athenians never coined gold
till a
very late period, and then in such small quantities,
that a gold coin of Athens is one of the greatest numismatic
rarities while the Jews, who did not coin money of any

description till a very late period, never coined gold at all ;

so that Shakspeare proved himself but an imperfect archaeo-

logist when he spoke of shekels of the tested gold," the
Jewish shekels being all of silver. On the other hand, in
Italy, where the original money was copper, the word ^ES
expressed both money, and copper, or rather bronze.


Greek coins, independent of their various weights, metals,
values,and denominations, may be divided into three classes.
1st. AUTONOMOUS coins are such as were issued
nearly every free city of the slightest importance according

to its own laws, as the name imports. After the subjugation

by Borne, the few favoured which were allowed still to
coin money, used the term autonomous upon their coins, to
express their possession of this privilege, but it is never
found on early coins.
2nd. REGAL coins are such as were issued by sovereigns,
and which passed current throughout the state in common
with the special coinage of each particular city.
3rd. GENERAL coins, which are such as were coined by
the general government of a state to circulate throughout its
full extent,and which bear the name of the state only, and not
that of any city such coins were issued even in monarchic

states, and bear only the national name, and not that of the
sovereign. Those of Epirus of this class are very fine.


That gold was first coined into money in Lydia, or among
the Greek colonies of Asia Minor, previous to the existence of
a silver coinage in European Greece, appears the most probable
conjecture, after the comparison of a variety of somewhat
conflicting authorities and the period of the first use of

coined money occurred, as previously stated, not long after

the time of Homer, probably near the commencement or
middle of the eighth century B. c.
The weight of the earliest gold coins known has formed
a kind of model standard, or trunk, from which all subsequent
coinages have branched out. The original unit was the
stater the term implying a standard, doubtless a well-
known and generally accepted weight, by which gold had
previously passed in barter, and by weight, before it was
stamped as coin, a process which Aristotle clearly states
was adopted to save the trouble of continual weighing.
Homer, in referring to values of gold, speaks of the
ToXavrov (talanton), a term originally derived from a generic
term for weight, which meant a pair of scales, as well as a
definite weight but the term in Homer does not appear to

correspond with the later talent as described by more recent

authors. The stater was equal in weight to two drachmae of
silver, and of the value of twenty and the following table

enable the reader to understand the relative weight of

the stater, the drachma, &c., according to the Athenian
standard :

1 Talent contained 60 Minae

1M ina 100 Drachmae
1 Drachma 6 Oboli.*

So that a talent contained 6000 drachma, and when a talent

of gold is spoken of, -the term refers to the weight, not the
value. A
talent of gold in weight would therefore be
equivalent to 120,000 silver drachmae, or twenty talents of
silver. But the weight of the unit which formed the base
of the scale, whether the drachma or the talent, varied in
different states, and there was a small talent, which more

especially referred to gold, sometimes termed the Sicilian

The earliest coins of Lydia (see Plate I.), supposed by
some to have been the celebrated Cr&sians, or coins of
Croesus, weigh about 124 grains each and some of the

earliest coins of Ionia appear to have been of precisely the

same standard, the double stater (No. 1, Plate I.,) weighing
248 grains.
The weight of the stater of Cyzicus was about 180 f
grains, and passed for twenty-eight Attic drachmae,
though possibly only worth twenty drachmae of the corres-
ponding silver standard of Cyzicus, the gold stater being
commonly considered as a didrachma, or double drachma,
in weight, and twenty drachmae in value. The modern
intrinsic value of a stater of Cyzicus, at the present price of
gold, would be (calculating the number of drachmae it
for) II 2s. Qd.
Two staters of Lampsacus, in the British Museum, are
about 129 grains, a trifle more than the weight of the
The stater of Phocea weighed about 127 grains, and seems
also to be of the standard of the Daric, but the more ancient
pieces are heavier.
* See derivation of
drachma, and obolus, chap. ii.
j" None of the existing staters of Cyzicus come quite up to this weight,
which is calculated with reference to that of the Daric.

The Attic standard, as established by Solon, according to

which the celebrated gold coinage of Philip of Macedon was
6 6
regulated, gave the weight of two drachms (of T grains each)
to the gold stater but as gold was issued so late, and in such

small quantities by the Athenians, it cannot be considered

as belonging to the coinage, and is only referred to here
on account of the Athenian standard of monetary weight
having eventually formed the basis of most of the gold coin
issued after the Macedonian reigns ofPhilip and Alexander.
By the weight given above of the various gold staters, it
will be seen that the original standard of the earliest gold
coinages varied greatly in different states ;
the unit upon
which it was based, the drachma, being heavier in one state
than another. The Asiatic standards of monetary weight
eventually became those upon which the later silver
coinages of Greece were founded, and it is believed that
the Babylonian standard was that upon which those of the
Greeks were more immediately based, as it accords with that
of ^Egina, the earliest monetary standard of European Greece.
The connexion may be traced in the following manner :

The heavy stater of Cyzicus was evidently based upon the

Babylonian standard, and with the well-accredited gold coin
of that state the ^Eginetans made their early silver coinage
agree in weight. As a proof, if we take the average weight of
the oldest gold Cyzicenes known, we shall find it to be about
180 grains, or rather more. Now the oldest didrachms of
JEgina, supposed to be the oldest Greek coinage of silver,
though estimated theoretically at more, generally average
about 183 grains a sufficient approximation to prove this
coinage to have been founded upon the older gold standards
of Asia, especially that of Cyzicus, which agrees with the
Babylonian. "When a lighter drachma was adopted at Athens
by Solon, weighing only sixty-six grains and a fraction,
twenty of them no longer corresponded with the older gold
coinages of Asia, and twenty-eight Attic drachms were given
for a stater of Cyzicus instead of twenty. But on the other
hand, the reformed Athenian scale agreed exactly with a
more recent Asiatic standard, that of the Persian Darics
and probably the Croesian staters also.
The gold Darics are supposed on good grounds to have
been a Persian issue or recoinage, at the time of the sub-

jection of the Greek colonies of Asia to that power, as there

is no evidence that the Persians possessed a coinage of their
own, but only coined the Darics in imitation of the coins
they found in circulation in the conquered provinces, and
only for the use of those provinces themselves. But it is
possible that a re-adjustment of the standard took place at
the time of this extensive recoinage, and that the Daric
when it replaced the Greek staters in the conquered
provinces, was not only an equalisation of the various
standards which differed in every petty state, but that
the standard was also at that time reduced in weight. This
subjection of the Greek provinces is generally fixed at about
565 B. c., and the laws of Solon respecting the Athenian
coinage are generally considered to have been promulgated
in the year 583 a year in which he is known to have been
Archon and possibly for that reason has the issue of the
laws regarding the coinage been attributed to that year.
But as Solon lived till 529 B. c., the final establishment
of his regulations may have taken place at a later period,
and I conceive therefore that the new standard may have
been made to agree with a grand and general reformation
and equalisation, recently effected by the genius of Cyrus,
who had in 565 B. c., more than thirty years before
the death of Solon, added the Greek territories in Asia to
his extensive empire. I come to this conclusion, because
the Persian coins of the time, the earliest known, weigh
exactly two Attic drachms, and were worth twenty. It is
true that these Persian coins bear the name of a successor
of Cyrus, and not his own, being the well known Darics ;
but this circumstance does not militate with great force
against the argument, as the term Daric is merely a popular
and not an official one, and not likely to have been conferred
until the coinage so denominated was very generally received
and accredited, which was not likely to have been the case,
while it was, in a manner, a novelty, more particularly as I
conclude that the coins had been reduced in weight from
former staters. The convenience, however, of a general
equalisation of the weight of the gold coin, which before
differed in each petty state, and also its great abundance,
could not fail eventually to bring it into high credit but this

probably did not take place thoroughly till after the short

reign of his son Cambyses, when the popular appellation of

the coin would naturally be derived from that of the then
reigning monarch, Darius Hydaspes. These views are founded
in some way on mere conjecture, but combined with so many
positive facts that they seem likely to be very near to
the truth.*
The Greek gold of which I have been speaking refers
mainly to the gold of the Asiatic colonies of Greece, as it would
appear, from a comparison of the best evidence on the subject,
that there was no gold coinage in the states of European
Greece, till a much later period, and even then of no
extent, the few gold coins of Athens, BcBotia, Ac., being of
extreme rarity. This is further proved by the monetary terms
in use in Greece, apyvpos (argyros), silver, forming the base of
nearly all terms relating to money, while xP v(TOS (chrysos),
gold, enters into very few. The Athenians, to the last period
of the national coinage, called a money changer, a silver
changer, (apyvpapoipos) and in the time of Sophocles it is
evident that gold was considered very rare, as he makes Creon
say in the "Antigone," Go and buy if you will, the
electrumf of Sardis and the Indian gold," while in ex-
changing silver for gold, for convenience of carriage or
export, such exchange was called xpvvvvtw to buy gold.


The Darics, and indeed the various gold coinages of

Grecianised Asia, passed current in Greece, but as foreign
coin, at a very early period, and when a more abundant gold
issue and one nearer home became common money in Greece,

* In
Lydia the old stater appears to have been below the weight of the
Daric, such as No. 2, Plate 1, weighing about 124 grs. In parts of Ionia also,
the same standard appears to have prevailed : the coin of Miletus, No. 1,
Plate 1, a double stater weighing about 248 grs., while the early staters of
Cyzicus, Phocea, and Lampsacus, exceeded this weight in various degrees ; so
that if my conjecture be true, the Daric was a fair average of the different
standards prevailing at the time.
"t* The coins of Lydia were frequently of electrum 3 a mixture of gold and
silver, of a light straw colour, an amalgam supposed to be found existing in
that state.

it was yet derived from a foreign source, and not coined by

any Greek state. This was the famous Macedonian coinage
of the Philips, so called from the name of the prince by
whom they were issued.
This coinage is generally considered Greek, as Philip
eventually obtained the privilege of being considered a
Greek sovereign, and admitted as such to the sacred
games, &c. Therefore from this time, Greek money is not
invariably spoken of as silver, but the term xpvo-Lov, or gold
money, is occasionally used without defining of what
nation, or denomination, as previously, the Darics or
Cyzicenes, or other foreign gold coins, had been described.
But, as has been stated, previous to this period foreign
gold circulated freely in Greece, and some of the islands,
and especially Samos, appear to have had at an early period
a gold coinage, for the tyrant Polycrates is said to have
imposed upon the Lacedemonians by paying to them
gilded coins upon a certain occasion, instead of the true
gold coin which they expected. There are gold coins of an
early period which are supposed to belong to the island of
Siphnas, where rich gold mines were worked in the time of
Croesus. But the gold chiefly circulating in Greece was,
first, that of Lydia, the coins of which were long known as
Croasians secondly, that of Cyzicus, where gold continued

to be coined till the close of the Roman empire, known as

Cyzicenes,* of which, in a depreciated form, the later zechines
or sequins of Venice are supposed to be imitations both in
name and value and thirdly, the Darics, which, however,

disappeared after the age of Alexander, the great bulk of

them being recoined by that conqueror in the form of the
well-known staters of his reign. The Daric, when it passed
twenty Attic drachma^ was (according to the few

The Cyzicenes would appear to have had a larger circulation beyond the
boundaries of their own state than any other Greek gold previous to the issue
of the celebrated Philips a fact attested by the numerous imitations of them by
other states, as was afterwards the case with the Philips. This sort of imitation
of the coins of one state by another, has its analogy in modern, or rather
mediaeval Europe, the gold florins, taking their name from Florence, the first
city of modern Europe to issue gold in quantity, having been copied by many
other states, not only in name but even in the device of the Florentine lily,
their principal type.

specimens preserved) four grains short of the weight of the

Attic didrachm, being only about 128 grains instead of 132 ;

and the exchange with Athens proves gold, say about 400 B.C.,
to have been a little more than ten times the value of silver.
The value of the Daric in our money is about 16s. 3d.
Barthelemy states that they are twenty-three karats (f fths)
fine, if so, they are ^th finer than our gold. The stater
of Phocea was also in circulation in the fifth and fourth
centuries before Christ but being of baser metal than the

Cyzicene, or Daric, it never circulated so

widely, and fell
earlier into discredit.
It has been seen that the gold attributed to Sardis, the
capital of Lydia, the gold of Cyzicus, and the Darics, formed
the principal gold circulation in Greece Proper prior to the
time of Philip of Macedon. But the Sicilians, especially the
Syracusans, had a gold coinage as early, if not earlier, than
400 B.C., as had also some of the cities of Southern Italy
(Magna Grsecia), among which the gold coins of Tarentum
may be cited as the most plentiful, and the most remarkable
for their beauty. For while the primitive gold coinages of the
Greek colonies in Asia are more remarkable for their curious
antique workmanship, the gold of Sicily and Magna Grsecia,
most of which belong to the finest period of the monetary art
among the Greeks, is celebrated for its fine workmanship ;

but it is rivalled by cotemporary gold of the Spartan colony

of Gyrene in Africa, and by the late gold of some Greek
cities in Asia, especially that of Clazomene.



The gold of Philip II., issued in large quantities from

his Thessalian mines, soon* nearly superseded all other gold
coin, and became so celebrated for its full weight and
purity, and so extensively known from its abundance, that it
was immediately copied in Sicily, with the addition sometimes
of a national type, or symbol, to distinguish it, and afterwards
by other Greek states, and even by barbaric nations for
* See coins of the
Kings of Macedon.

centuries after the time of Philip ; still, however, bearing the

original name which these staters soon acquired, of Philips.
Some of these coins remained in circulation in remote
provinces bordering on Asia and Europe to times very near
to our own. The staters of Philip II. were coined according
to the Attic standard of about sixty-six grains to the
drachm, though the old Macedonian standard resembling
that of JEgina, but still heavier, was continued in the
silver coinage till the reign of Alexander the Great, when the
Attic standard was adopted for that metal also. The ancient
standard of Macedonia may be taken at 108 grains to the
drachm, which perhaps was the same originally as that of
^Egina, derived through Phidon of Argos, and which in
inland Macedonia, remained uninfluenced by the innovations
of active commerce, while in the commercial island of JEgina
the decrease from ninety-six to eighty-two grains subse-
quently took place after which the coinage of that island

assumed the firm standard from which it did not again depart.
The Ptolemies, in establishing their sway in Egypt after
the death of Alexander the Great, adopted the ancient
Macedonian standard for their money a fact to be spoken
of hereafter.
Alexander coined gold after the same standard as his father
Philip, and the quantity minted in Asia was enormous,
nearly all the Darics and other staters being recoined in the
Alexandrian form.*
The gold staters of Philip and Alexander were of the
highest purity in fact, without alloy.
The mere particle of
silver which they contain being considered present merely
because it could not be separated therefore, as containing

133 grains of fine gold, while our sovereign contains 123

grains 22 carats (or -f ^ths) fine, the stater of these reigns
equal to 1Z. 3s. 6d. of our money but calculated according

to its relative value in silver at the time, (namely, twenty

drachms,) it is only worth 16s. 3d., gold having been less
valuable in proportion to silver then than now.
Of the successors of Alexander, Lysimachus, who obtained
possession of the Thracian and Thessalian gold mines,
* For of the Macedonian
types of gold of Alexander and Philip, see coins

the greatest quantity of gold money, that of Lysimaehus

still existing in great abundance, and occasionally in large

pieces, even of the weight of eight or ten drachms. The

octodrachms, or eight-drachm pieces, of the Ptolemies are
celebrated and well-known and being coined according to

the ancient Macedonian standard, were long a puzzle to

numismatists as to weight and denomination. Only a few
nearly unique gold coins occur in the money of Syria and
in the dynasty of the Seleucidse, and the same may be said of
the Parthian coinage of the Arsacidse, till the revolution
of Ardishir, who established the Persian supremacy, after
which gold was coined in accordance with the weight of the
E-oman aureus.
In the mean time some of the lesser Greek dynasties in
Asia had coined gold, such as the Kings of Pontus, of
Pergamus, of Bythynia, and also the Sicilian family of Hiero,
King of Syracuse, where the Attic standard had been
adopted for the gold coinage. The gold coinage of the
Kings of the Cimmerian Bosphorus belongs perhaps more to
the Roman than the Greek period.


The metal termed by the ancients electrum is a mixture
of gold and silver, which is of a pale straw colour, instead
of the rich deep yellow of pure gold. The earliest known
coins of the metal are among those now attributed to
Sardis in Lydia, the metal of which is supposed to have
been a natural amalgam, found in the sands of the Pactolus,
which flowed near the Sardian capital; and probably in
other places also, as later Greek coins, both autonomous and
regal, are known of this metal. At a late period it was
artificially imitated,
and Pliny mentions in detail the
relative proportions of gold and silver made use of, which was
sometimes a fifth, and occasionally even a third of silver.
There are Sicilian coins of Agathocles in this metal, of the
kings of the Cimmerian Bosphorus, and also of the Gaulish
and British chieftains or princes, previous to the E-oman




I have in tMs work accepted the theory that the Greek
silver coinagewas copied from the gold ones of Lydia and
Hellenic Asia, and that the weights and values adopted
were also founded on the Asiatic ones.
The earliestGreek silver, that of ^Egina, appears, as
stated in the previous chapter, to have corresponded with
the earliest gold of Asia, especially that of Cyzicus. *
The largest silver coin of the JEginetans appears to have
been the didrachm, f or piece of two drachms, weighing
from 182 to 196 grains, but they had the triobolus or half
drachma, the diobolus, or piece of two obols, which were the
third of a drachma obols, and, even half obols, all of
The following is a Table of their proportion and value :

Greek drachma, is their more immediate parent, and yet not

so like, the divisions of the Denarius being decimal.
This standard, the ^Eginetan, was adopted in many
Grecian states, perhaps all originally, even where no coins
exist to prove it. The Macedonian standard was evidently
founded upon it,* and it was firmly established in Boeotia,
where coins of exceedingly early character are found, the
earliest having nothing to distinguish their place of mintage
but the well known national device, the buckler. But after-
wards they have the initial letter of the capital, Thebes, 0.
On the earliest coins this character is written
next . .

then ...... ,j

and lastly

After these, the next Boeotian series appear to be those with

the first three letters of Thebes, EB. After this period the
weight of the original standard falls off in the Boeotian
coinage, eventually to the amount of sixteen grains. In
other countries where this standard was adopted, it seems
to have been a little lighter than in ^Egina and Boeotia,
with the sole exception of Macedonia. In Argos, where it
appears to have been adopted by Phidon, the oldest coins
give ninety grains to a drachma, later ones from seventy
to eighty ;
but a solitary gold coin of Argos, perhaps the
best test of the really accepted standard, as being more
carefully adjudged, gives ninety-nine grains to the drachma :

the ^Eginetan silver standard is found, though slightly

depreciated, in Naxus, Crete, Sanios, Seriphus, Teos,
Phocea, Abydos, and at Hemera, in and Ehegium
and Tarentum in Magna Grsecia. But at these last mentioned
places the ^JEginetan standard was slightly depreciated, and it
was surpassed inweight, as stated, by that established inMace-
donia, which may be taken at 108 grains to the drachma.
The Macedonian drachma of 108 grains was no doubt the
original jEginetan, before its early depreciation, and which in
fact it ought to be, according to theory, and in accordance

See preceding pages on weights of Greek gold.

with various talents, and other moneys of account, mentioned

by ancient authors. Some Thracian tribes, near the cele-
brated silver mines, appear to have coined money at least as
early as the time of Alexander I. of Macedonia, or about
500 B.C., and these coins resembling those of Macedonia,
and bearing sometimes the remarkable inscription in full,
FfXas @a<n\vs HSeovai/. Gelas, king of the Edonians," the
earliest example of the title of kings being assumed upon a
coin the famous one of Alexander I. of Macedonia having
simply the name these coins give from 105 to 107 grains to

the drachm, as do the earliest and famous Cistophorae* or silver

tetradrachms of Rhodes, afterwards current throughout all
Asia Minor.


The oldest Attic coins known are of the standard
established by Solon they may be half a century older

than the coins of Alexander I. of Macedon, the Solonian

standard having been finally settled perhaps about 550 or
540 B.C. In speaking of the Greek gold, I have supposed
the reform of the Attic standard, which then took place, to
have been founded upon the then existing state of the
principal Asiatic gold standard, which in its earlier period
I suppose to have formed the basis of the JEginetan standard.
This reformed standard of Athens gave 66 grains and a
fraction to the drachm, a standard ever after scrupulously
observed by the Athenians till they lost their independence.
The weights were kept with great care at Athens, the standards
or models (ar)Kwp.aTa) being deposited in the Acropolis. This
scrupulous attention soon caused the Athenian money to
hold a very high rank, and to be freely current with all
nations trading with the Greeks which may account for the

immense variety of minor typesf on the Athenian coinage,

frequently, no doubt, the types of cities and states where the
Athenian coin was received as equal to the national money.
The following table will show the Athenian standard better
than verbal description. The mina and the talent were not
money in coins, but nominal weights, by which large sums
were computed.
* See
popular names of coins.
f To be referred to again in the chapter on Types.

Table of the Attic Silver Weights, in Avoirdupois Weight.


in another place. The piece of the weight of ten JEginetan

obols, sometimes termed the Corinthian stater, may be
considered perhaps the general silver standard of Sicily :

and this piece is also in correspondence with the native

copper standard, and represents ten litres, being called a
decalitron the larger Sicnian pieces, commonly called Sicilian

medallions, are considered decadrachms, but perhaps more

properly, pentecontalitrcB, or pieces of fifty litrae. deca- A
drachm, or ten-drachm piece, would be worth sixty Attic
obols, instead of fifty but these obols are ^Eginetan, instead

of Attic, which would make these pieces represent more

nearly twelve Attic drachms than ten. But enough has been
said to show that these intricacies cannot be entered on in
a work of this extent, and as regards the Sicilian coinage, it
will be sufficient to remark that it is difficult on looking at a
Sicilian coin to say to what standard or scale it belongs ;
a coin of about the size of a didrachm, for instance, might
be called a didrachma, or perhaps more properly, a decalitron,
worth ten obols of ^Egina, which appears to have been, in
accordance with the piece, called the Corinthian stater, or
didrachm, of that value, which may in short be considered
as the principal standard, and as forming the bulk of the
Sicilian silver money.


In describing the coins of various Greek states, I have
altogether avoided giving specimens of copper, as it was
adopted at a much later period than silver or gold ; and
though it eventually came into common use in many
Greek states as a subordinate coin, it never became among
the Greeks the national standard, as it was in Rome,*
where its description will, of course, form the prominent
feature in the chapters devoted to that subject. In the
Greek series, the earliest copper is supposed to have been
issued in Macedonia, by the King ^Eropus, about the year
397 B.C. The attempt to introduce a copper coinage in
Athens may have preceded it, though no specimens of such
an issue are in existence. The first recorded attempt took

* in Sicily.
And, perhaps, originally
O 2

place to repair in some measure, with a small and poor

issue of copper, the drain upon the treasury which had
taken place in consequence of the ruinous expenditure caused
by the Peloponnesian war. The orator Dionysius, w ho de-

fended the project, became so unpopular in consequence, that

he received the epithet of the brazen orator," or (6 X^KOVS)
the man of brass. Salmasius alludes to this brass or copper
coinage, when he states that brass was minted by the
Athenians in the Archonship of Callias, in the 81st Olympiad.
There is evidence that this coinage was called in in the year
392 B.C., and the minute silver pieces mentioned at page 193
were no doubt issued to replace it. Small copper pieces
were, however, soon issued again, as it would seem, for we
find mention of them in various places. These copper
pieces soon acquired, like the silver and gold before them,
a name founded on the metal of which they were composed,
and were known as ^aXxi'o^ and x a^ Kt/a signifying copper

money, from x a^ K s, copper. The principal coin of the series

were called a x a ^ KOVS (chalcous), signifying a piece of
copper. These copper coins were fractional parts of the
obolus, two of them going to the quarter obolus of silver ;
thus the copper chalcus was the eighth of a silver obolus.
Pollux mentions another copper coin, of an early age,
called collybus (fcdXXvjSos) but as that term signified

generally, "changing money," collybus may be simply

another name for any small copper money, just as our modern
pattern farthings of the time of Cromwell, were inscribed
with " convenient change." That the chalcus was despised
in countries long accustomed to an exclusively silver coinage,
we may gather from a passage in Demosthenes, who speaks
of a worthless thing as not worth a chalcus, just as we
might say, not worth a brass button.
At a later period, perhaps about 200 B.C., obols of copper
were coined, which were at first as large as the Roman first
brass, or our large penny of George III. About 185 B.C.
we find Ptolemy Epiphanos, King of Egypt, paying several
talents all in copper money.* In later times the chalcus
* The of a very peculiar character, the pieces
copper of the Ptolemies is

being of large size, nearly three times as bulky as our large penny of
the reign of George III., the horned head of Jupiter Ammon on the obverse,
and the Ptolemaic eagle on the reverse.

was subdivided into lepta, of which Combe gives eight to the

chalcus and there were also, he says, the dilepton, or double

lepton, and the tetralepton, or piece of four lepta, which last

was sometimes termed a hemichalcus, or half-chalcus. The
Athenian examples of the dilepton may sometimes be distin-
guished, according to the same authority, by their bearing
two owls for device, or types, or sometimes two owls with
one head perhaps it may eventually be found that the

single lepton is distinguished by a single owl the dilepton


by two owls with one head, and the tetralepton two distinct

Scale showing the relative Proportions of the Lepton, the Chalcus,

and the Obol.


from which term it is supposed that the E-oman libra,

or pound, was originally derived. It clearly appears that
copper preceded silver as a rude currency in Sicily, or it
would not have been computed by such large measure as the
pound weight; while in Greece, where it was introduced
after the silver, it onlyappeared as representing small sub-
divisions of the lowest silver coin.Temesia exported copper
as early as Homer's time, and it was found plentifully in
Hetruria and Campania. It is to be inferred from these
facts and others, that the Italians and Sicilians had
established a copper currency as a medium of exchange
before the arrival of the Greek colonists; but one most pro-
bably passing by weight, and not by tale. (See pages 7, 8.)
The system of monetary weights in copper in these
countries appears to have been founded upon the pound
weight, as the unit ; which was, according to Aristotle,
in his " Polity of the Agrigentines," the litra of the
Sicilians, and the libra of the Italians, and of the value of
an JEginetan obolus. This pound was subdivided into twelve
ounces, or oungkia (Wy^ta), of the Sicilians, and uncia of the
Italians, each ounce, according to Aristotle, in his " Polity
of the Himserians," being of the value of one chalcus ; but
as the chalcus was only one-eighth, and not one-twelfth of
the obol, this statement must be received with caution, as
some peculiar chalcus must be alluded to, probably the Attic,
twelve of which would approximate in value to eight of JEgina.
But the connexion of the Italian libra of copper, and the
Greek obol of silver, is one of the most intricate subjects in
the whole range of metrology, and the student must be
referred to the learned treatises of Professor Bo'ckh, and
others who have treated the subject in all its details. It
will be sufficient to state here, that early Sicilian copper now
exists, founded upon the uncial system, which, as I shall
have to notice it in the origin of the Eoman coinage, I need
not describe here.
Various modifications of scale and weight were resorted
to in order to bring a system founded on the libra and
uncia, into accordance with that of the Greeks, founded on
the drachma and obol which received further complication

from the necessity of having regard both to the JEginetan and

Attic standards, both of which were used by different colonies;

some the two prevailed, in modified forms, in the
same 'colony as at Syracuse, for instance, founded by
Corinthians, who, in their early coinages, followed the
-/Eginetan scale, and afterwards partially adopted the
The copper coins of a later period, those of
fine Sicilian
Hiero II., and are probably half-
his family, for instance,
Iitra3 reduced, of course, in weight from the earlier standard,

or they would weigh half a pound. But as the silver became

more abundant in countries where a copper coinage had
previously existed, the copper pieces corresponding with the
value of a given piece of silver, rapidly decreased in weight,
the rarer silver coin having been at first over-valued with :

reference to copper, and, as the silver had obtained a wider cir-

culation and firmer footing than the copper, it was the copper
standard of weight that gave way rather than the silver.
In Magna Grsecia, about the time of the coins of Hiero
of Sicily, and after all the Greek colonies of that part of
Italy had sunk under Roman influence, the uncial system
began to predominate over that of the obol and drachma,
and vast quantities of copper coins of the different portions
of the Roman pound were issued in the different states ;

these have most commonly the head of a deity on the

obverse, and a Biga or Quadriga on the reverse, and they
are marked by a certain number of semiglobular dots to
denote the number of ounces they represent, which will
be spoken of more in detail in treating of the early Roman
coinage. (See also page 66.)


After having enumerated such details of the subject as
my space will allow, the origin and character of the weights
relating both to gold, silver, and copper money may be thus
briefly summed up. First, the old Greek term TaXairov, a
talent, as used by Homer, simply signified weight, and the
oriental term pva* a mina, was of a
subsequent adoption, and
* The term
pva., a mina, is of Semitic origin, and more especially
of the
Chaldee dialect, and the word maneh expresses number or measure, in its
widest sense ; tekel or shekel being the proper word for weight, from which
the name of the chief Hebrew coin is derived.

marks the introduction of an oriental standard, that most

probably of the Chaldseans of Babylon the oldest Greek ;

standard of weight, the JEginetan, being nearly identical

with the Babylonian.
The Babylonian talent here alluded to appears to have
been modified in the East at a particular time, and to have
been superseded to a great extent by that called by the
Greeks the Eubo'ic, from having been introduced to them
through the medium of the active commerce of the Euboeans.
This modified talent appears to have been adopted by the
Athenians, at a time when the older talent still prevailed in
the greater part of Greece, through the influence of the
commercial power of JEgina. The progressive Athenians
appear to have again modified their standard in the time of
Solon, and I have supposed, in my remarks on that event,
that he followed some subsequent modification of the eastern
standard, rather than that he invented a standard of his
own, but in this supposition I do not attempt to interfere
with the intricate statements and conclusions of Bockh,
Miiller, &c. which the more advanced student will refer to for
himself, nor attempt to explain whether the correspondence
of one standard with another was accidental, or the result
of special arrangement; though it would seem plausible
that Solon should have adjusted the new Attic standard, as
suggested by these great authorities, so as to leave it in
the easily calculated proportion of three to five to the
JEginetan,* which it could not hope at once to supersede.
By this condensed view of the subject the student may
form a general idea of the nature of the differences existing
between different Greek standards of weight, t without
going through a long and elaborate list of all the different
talents that existed, either simultaneously or successively,
all of which were, as it appears to me, simply progressive
in which it was sought to adjust more accu-
ratelyand conveniently the relative proportions of value
between coin and merchandise, whether natural produce
or manufactured.

* The
weights and values of each proportion of the Attic and
coins are given in a former part of this chapter.
f I have not, in a work exclusively devoted to coins, referred to other
scales of weight, relating to merchandise, c., known as commercial talents.

In this view I have supposed that in the origin of a

metallic currency, when its true character as a system of
counters was imperfectly understood, it would take more coin
to purchase real produce than it would when the character
of a circulating medium became better known thus, sup-

posing that at first certain gold pieces were so regulated in

weight, that each should represent the value of an ox of
average quality, and that such pieces, becoming better
appreciated, more than an ox might be obtained for one ;
then, some such remodelling of the standard would become
advisable, as the following :
supposing each pound weight
of gold to have been originally coined into fifty gold pieces,
the subsequent coinage of the same quantity into sixty-two
and a half gold pieces, would bring each single piece more
nearly into its original relation with the value of the ox. A
process analogous to this would continue in action, slowly of
course for a long period, until, by a sufficient supply of the
circulating medium, and its more correct appreciation, the
relative values of money and produce had found their level.
But the active monetary reforms of some districts, and the
inertness of others, would eventually produce a multitude of
conflicting scales, the intricate relations of which between
each other is most difficult to determine at the present
day; and the complication is farther increased by the
occasional arbitrary return to older standards under peculiar
circumstances: such for instance as that of the Ptolemaic
dynasty of Egypt to the ancient Macedonian standard of a
particular epoch. Such returns have generally been the
arbitrary acts of princes, for some political purpose, and in
the case of the usurper Ptolemy, it is easy to see that the
re-adoption of many of the ancient regal forms of Macedonian
government was of advantage in giving an air of antique and
national Macedonian legality to his assumption of power in
Egypt. In other cases sovereigns have sought popularity
by the issue of coin adjusted to some ancient and heavier
standard, while still bearing the same name as the lighter coin
superseded by them, which, though apparently benefiting
the people, would have no more real effect than if an English
sovereign should mint none but double guineas, calling them
guineas, for which, nevertheless, twice the quantity of silver,
or other equivalent, as was given for the smaller pieces, would

eventually have to be given for those of double their weight ;

for no arbitrary innovations can permanently alter the natural

course of relative values, depending as they do upon relations
too intricate, too numerous, and too wide spread to be driven
from their course by individual caprice, however powerfully
aided by government regulations, and enforced by might or
right, that is, by despotic force, or despotic law.
In considering the value of ancient money with reference
to our own as when we say that a gold stater of Philip II.
is worth ILL 3s. 6d.,
according to the present or recent value
of gold, we cannot infer that such was its absolute value
at the time of its issue, which we cannot arrive at without
being very fully informed as to the quantity of real wealth,
in manufactured or natural produce, or labour, which it would
purchase a subject not within the range of the present
work. *


Silver money was commonly spoken of as

(argyrion), from the Greek word argyros (silver), just as
the French call all money de Targent; their national
standard being also silver. Gold money was spoken of as
chrysion (xpvo-Lov), from chrysos (xpuo-os), gold and copper ;

money was designated chalcyon (x a^ K ^ ov^ from chalcos

(xuX/cos), copper much as our vulgar term coppers expressed
the pence and halfpence of that metal long after it was first
introduced in the modern coinage of this country.
But these are only general terms, in addition to which
ancient Greek coins bore many well-known names founded
upon the types they bore, or the name of the place or
person by whom they were issued.


The coins of Athens were sometimes called owls, from
their well-known type upon which appellation the anecdote

* " "
Jacobs' s History of the Precious Metals affords much valuable
information on this subject.

of the Athenian miser is related, who was said to have

swarms of owls roosting in the roof of his house money
concealed there being perfectly understood by the term
owls. The Athenian coins received also the name of
Koprj (the maiden), from the head of Minerva on
the obverse,
a name given also to coins of other places bearing the
same type- The Persian staters were known as archers
(sagittarii) from the figure of a Persian archer, which was at

first the only type, and hence it was said that Agesilaus was
beaten by 30,000 archers, when it was meant to be insinuated
that he had been induced to withdraw from the alliance of
the enemies of Persia by a bribe of 30,000 gold Darics.
The well-known and widely-spread coins of JSgina were
called tortoises, from their invariable type, and the tetra-
drachms of Khodes, afterwards imitated and circulated
widely ^by several cities of Asia Minor, were called Cistophori,
from the cista, or sacred chest or casket of Bacchus.


Coins of very general circulation were known by the name
of the place where they were minted as the celebrated
gold staters of Cyzicus so frequently mentioned by ancient
authors were known as Cyzicenes, which, as they continued
to be issued till the close of the Roman empire, conveyed the
name to an early coin of Venice made in imitation of the
famous zechino, or sequin. There are several other less
celebrated examples which it would be useless to enumerate,
but I may mention that the coins of JEgina were sometimes


The earliest examples are the gold staters of Croesus,
King of Lydia, by some supposed to be the gold pieces with
the fore parts of a bull and lion for
type, described at page
12. The well-known Darics received their name from
Darius Hystaspes (see pages 12 and 14), and there is the
supposed by some to be the silver Darics
coined by the Persian governor Aryandes in Egypt. The
coins minted in Sicily from the golden crown, weighing
one hundred talents,* presented by the Carthaginians to
Damarete, the wife of Gelo I., who had been the means of
procuring them an honourable peace, received the name of
Damaretion, and in Sicily there were also the faXio-Tidiov vofjua-^a,
named after Philistes, Queen of Hiero II., which bear a
very exquisitely executed veiled portrait of the Queen in
the style of the well-known Greco-Egyptian coins of Arsinoe
and Berenice. The Ptolmaici were the Egyptian coins of
the Ptolemies. But the most celebrated Greek coins,
named after the original issuer, are undoubtedly the Philips,
so named as previously stated, after Philip II. of Macedon,
who, for the first time in European Greece, issued gold in
large quantities, coined from the gold mines of Orenides, in
Thessaly, which are said to have yielded in modern money
2,880,000?. a-year. The pieces, whether double or single
staters, coined in Asia in such large quantities by his son
Alexander the Great, were also known as Alexanders
(Alexandrini), just in the manner that in modern times we
have had our Jacobuses, Louis d'ors, and Napoleons.
These coins were also known by the names referring
to their respective weights, as drachma, obolus, &c. as we
find them generally so described by most ancient authors
when speaking of small sums larger amounts being

invariably expressed in terms of account, as talent, mina, &c.

These were doubtless the small Sicilian talent, which applied especially
to gold.




THE term from the Latin typus and the Greek rvnos
(typos), properly means a blow, and by extension the effect
of a blow thus the device impressed on the coin by the

blow of a hammer on the cuneus* or wedge bearing the

matrix or die, is termed a type. A cameo was also termed a
type, but most probably as resembling the impression on a
coin, in its degree of relief, &c. Cicero, in his letters to
Atticus, commissions his friend to procure certain typi for
him, to work into the plastering of his atrium, from which it
would seem that the term eventually included reliefs of any
kind, those of different descriptions being expressed by such
compounds as avrirvrros, the copy or impress from a type ;

evTimos, a sunken pattern, or intaglio ; while CKTVTTO? expressed

more particularly a high relief, as distinct from a low relief.
The term type may therefore be considered to express,
generally, anything which is an exact facsimile or copy of
another, and so is extremely appropriate to the devices on
coins received in exact facsimile from a die.
The types found on Greek coins afford us an immense
number of representations, which communicate to us, with
curious accuracy, the nature and form of a host of objects
consecrated to various divinities, the most generally acknow-
ledged attributes of those divinities, and the peculiarities of
their worship, as well as a vast number of objects connected
with the history, the sciences, and the arts of ancient
The Greek or Lydian money, as described in

Chapter type on one side, the other being

II. only exhibits a

occupied by a rough indent caused by the punch which

* See
Chap, xi., page 10.

served to drive the metal into the diebut at a later period,


as the artsand commerce extended their domain, not only

were means found to impress a type on both sides of the
coin, but each principal type was accompanied by a number
of smaller ones, as beautifully executed, notwithstanding
their minute size, as the larger and principal types.




The great variety of types found on Greek coins is partly

owing to the circumstance that the right of coinage among
the Greeks belonged to every free city * in a state, and not
to the capital alone. Thus, in Macedonia, up to the time of
Philip II., many cities continued to strike money with their
own peculiar types, though the coin issued by the prince
himself circulated throughout the country ; and so highly
prized was this privilege by Grecian citizens, that after the
total subjection of every great state both in Europe and
Asia to the power of Borne, still the right of striking their
own money was continued to many powerful cities, even to
a late period of the empire.
The earliest types of the coinage of the oldest Greek
states and colonies appear generally to relate to the founda-
tion of the state, the site chosen, or the nature of the soil ;
generally expressed by some suitable symbol, which was
made sacred to the tutelar deity of the people.
That a symbol thus rendered sacred should have been
deemed the most proper image to impress upon a coin, like
a national seal, as a guarantee of its purity and weight, is
easily understood,
and the more so as this idea of expressing
a guarantee by the act of sealing is of the highest antiquity,
sealing having been used as an act of solemnisation of
compact long before coins were known.
* See " Autonomous
Coins," chap, xv., page 181.

The types of early Greek coins, therefore, afford us a most

interesting series of symbols connected with the foundation
and early history of several Greek states, of which no other
record remains, and the study of them was commenced nearly
as early as the time of the revival of learning in the fifteenth
It was thought by some that such types as the bunch of
grapes on the coins of Myconos, and the ear of wheat on
those of Metapontum, had only reference to the products of
the soil, while others insisted that they were purely religious ;

but more recent investigation has shown that they partake of

both characters, for the adoption of a divinity and the dedi-
cation of certain things as objects of sacrifice in the worship
of that divinity frequently depended upon the products of the
soil or the geographical character of the locality. Thus, it is
well known that it was usual to pay divine honours to adjacent
rivers, as causes of fertility, &c., as is shown by the frequent
occurrence of the name of river deities on coins. newly A
formed city not unfrequently received its name from that of
the stream or some object connected with it, as at Selinus,
in Sicily, where the stream is still covered with the water-
parsley plant, called by the Greeks a-e\ivov (selinon), which
gave its name to the city, and became, no doubt, an offering
to the presiding deity, and, as such, the sacred emblem by
which the people of Selinus sealed or stamped the public
money.* The river Acheloiis, in Acarnania, represented by
a human-headed bull, is a fine example of the personification
and worship of rivers, as also the types of the cities of Gelas,
Neapolis, &c., no doubt copied from this as well as the

frequently occurring type of the bull, generally symbolising

a river. Seaport towns frequently adopted marine objects
for the national symbol, and from causes analogous to the
one detailed above, as the dolphin of Syracuse, the seal
of Phocea, the tortoise of JEgina, and the cuttle-fish and
cockle-shell of other places.
Some types of the nature of that of Selinus, are such as
have been termed by early numismatists " speaking types"
by whom they were considered a sort of pun upon the
* See
description of Plate IV. for an account of several early types of Greek

name of the state, a display of small wit which such a people

as the Greeks do not appear at all likely to have displayed
upon a matter so serious as the national coinage. Some
writers, however, still persist in this view of the matter, and cite
the medisBval coins of the Spanish city of Granada, upon which
the fruit of the granata, or pomegranate, appears as the type,
which, even should it be proved in that case to be a mere
pun, would be no proof that the early Greeks condescended
to similar jeux d* esprit ; for modern coins and medals afford
numerous examples of such sorry attempts at wit as could
never enter into the more severe tastes of the ancients. For
instance, on what ancient medal could such a puerile and
yet profane conceit as the following be found Pope

Urban VIII., on repairing certain roads, caused a medal

to be struck with the inscription, Blessed are they who
Nevertheless, though the idea of speaking types as intentional
puns must be abandoned, yet it will be interesting to refer
to a few of the most striking examples of this class of type.
That of the coinage of Rhodes is among the most frequently
cited, a flower of the rose being the type, which flower bears
the same name as the island (poSov) but as the rose is remark-
ably abundant in that island, and sacred to Venus, who was
worshipped there, it may easily be conceived to have been
adopted from similar motives to those which induced the
adoption of the parsley leaf as a national symbol at
Selinus. I shall briefly mention a few other examples, with-
out comment. The coins of Side have a pomegranate, in
Greek side (0-1877) those of Melos, the apple, in Greek

melon (/w/Xoi/) those of the ancient Ancona, in Italy, the


elbow, in Greek ancon (ay<ov) and those of Cardia, the

heart, in Greek cardia (ap8/a).
Some received their names from the deities whose

effigies appear eventually on the coins, as Athens from

Athena, the Greek name of Minerva and Posidonia, in

Magna Grsecia, from Poseidon, the Greek name of Neptune.

Greek types of the first period are almost entirely symbols,
while in the second period the deities themselves are


The symbolic types of the first period were long considered

as forming the obverse or principal side of the coin, even
after the head of a deity was introduced thus we find the

ancient type of Corinth, the Pegasus, still on the principal

side of the coin after the introduction of the head of Minerva
as a national type for the last-mentioned type first occurs

in the hollow square, or punch mark, which is obviously the

inferior side of the coin, being in early specimens merely a
rugged blank, as described in a previous chapter on the
origin of coinage. Very beautiful subjects frequently occur
in the hollow square of the Boaotian coinage, while the
ancient buckler still occupies the place of honour and other

similar examples will be found in the early plates of this

volume so that when, from increased skill in the art of coin-

ing, the trace of the square mark disappears, it is difficult to

say whether the post of honour changed places at that epoch,
or whether, long afterwards, the more ancient type was still
considered to form the obverse or principal side of the coin.
A sort of intermediate type between that of the very
simple emblems found on the earliest coins, and the repre-
sentation of gods under the human form, is that which
symbolises them under an especial figure. River deities, for
instance, were at first represented by the poetic emblem of
a bull. Homer describes the roaring of the river Scamander
as resembling that of a bull, and an impetuous torrent may
easily be conceived to have some poetic analogy with the im-
petuous attack of an enraged bull.
Types founded on this idea are such as are found on the
coins of Acarnania, where the river deity Achelous is re-
presented by a bull with a human head divinity being

expressed as it were by the intellect symbolised by the

human head, and power by the body of the bull. The coins
of G-elas, in Sicily, and Neapolis, in Magna Graecia, have a
similar type. The lion and bull on the coins of Acanthus
have been supposed to symbolise power of a higher quality
overcoming brute strength, as in Persia the same figure
often expresses royalty subduing the rude force of the
people, and in other cases in the east it bears a mere religious

character the bull, being the image of water or moisture,

overcome by the lion, an image of the sun. Eire, or the
great central fire, the sun, was the symbol of Deity among
the followers of Zoroaster. A
similar meaning has been
given recently to Assyrian sculptures, in which the same
emblems are combined.*
As a bull has been used by poets and in early monetary
types to express a river, so it is supposed that a serpent
represents the sea, especially on coins of the Brettii. The
Jiydrimarini, mentioned by Pliny (the sea-serpent being no
modern invention), having been frequently used by poets to
express marine power, in such a manner as the monster t
Scylla, on a coin of Agrigentum, symbolises the dangers of
the well-known strait that separates Italy from Sicily. The
serpent which accompanies the rose on the coins of Rhodes
is thought to
express the insular position of that state.


The ideal portraits of the deities of the Greek mythology
next become the leading types of the Grecian coinage.
A good and well marked example of the two periods may
be found in the coins of Athens. The earliest known,
having only an owl, an attribute of Minerva, for principal
type, while those of a later period have the effigy of the
deity herself. In grandeur of treatment, some of these
idealised impersonalities of the deities of the Greek mytho-
logy, surpass any modern efforts of a similar class such, for ;

instance, as the magnificent head of Proserpine or Ceres, on

the well known Sicilian medallions.
The earliest representations of the gods by the Greeks
consisted of mere masses of stone, the descent of aerolites
having possibly given rise to the idea that stones falling
upon the earth in a manner so wonderful, were especial
manifestation of the presence of a deity, which gave rise to
the personification of divinity under the form of a stone.

* See
description of coins of Gelas, Camarina, and Catania, in the chapter
on Greek Coins of the Finest Period.
See coins of Agrigentum in same chapter.

That such an impression did prevail is proved by the stone

deity, Elgabal, worshipped in Syria, the principal seat of the
worship of aerolitic stones, which is described as a dark
coloured conical stone, to which was attached the tradition
that it fell from heaven it was, no doubt, an aerolite.
: This
stone was carried to Rome in great state by the emperor
Eliogabalus, Avhich was the origin of his surname, by which
he is better known than by that of his family *.
Yenus was anciently worshipped at Paphos under the
form of a similar stone, as were also the Juno of the
Thespians, and the Diana of Icaria, and in other cases a
stone column was made to represent a divinity. The
Dioscuri being represented in Lacsedemonia by two parallel
pieces of stone, united by two transverse pieces.
There are a few examples of very rude heads of deities
upon Greek coins, but the earliest worthy of attention are
those of the archaic period above referred to some of ;

which are remarkable for their careful and minute execution,

and at the same time a certain grandeur and simplicity which
distinguishes all works of Greek art among the coins of this
class. Those of Naxos bearing the head of Bacchus are
perhaps the most remarkable.
It must be observed that when the head of a divinity had
superseded the mere symbol as a monetary type, the former
type did not always disappear, but became secondary, t
being either grouped round the head of the deity on
the principal side of the coin, like the dolphins round the
head of Proserpine on the coin of Syracuse, or transferred
to the reverse like the rose of Rhodes, or the bull of
the coins of Sybaris, which last originally occupied the
obverse, and had an incused impress of the same figure on
the back but after the adoption of the head of Minerva

as the principal type, on account as some suppose, of

the alliance with the Athenians, the old national type
of the bull was transferred to the reverse, the art of making
both sides of the coin perfect having been attained at that

* Its removal is recorded

upon Roman coins in an interesting manner, to be
spoken of in describing the Roman series,
t See page 208, on obverses and reverses.

As examples of the finest treatment of some of the heads

of this class of types, the following may be cited. The
Proserpine on the coins of Syracuse, of Jupiter Ammon on
those of Gyrene ;
the Minerva on the coins of Thurium
and Corinth that of Arethusa on the coins of Clazomene
; ;

the Apollo on those of E/hodes and on Carian coins; the

Juno on those of Argos; and the Jupiter on the coins
of Tarentum, on late coins of Macedonia, and on the
well-known coin of Antigonus; and the Dodonsean Jupiter
on the fine coin of Pyrrhus but the four last-mentioned

belong rather to the regal series than to the autonomous

coins I am now treating of.
The reverses of Greek autonomous coins after both sides re-
ceived perfect impressions are very various. Among the most
striking perhaps are the bigse and quadrigae of the Sicilian
coinages, the Carthaginian emblems of the horse and palm
tree, on coins supposed to have been engraved for that people
by Greek artists, the lyre on Lycian coins, the dolphins, and
wolf on those of Argos, &c.


Though I have divided the style of types in classes for

the sake of more convenient description, the styles thus
fixed to different epochs were attained so gradually, and
at such different periods in different places, that the
arrangement must be regarded as somewhat arbitrary.
A class of devices or types which I assign to a third

period, are those representing semi-divine personages, whose

actions were mixed up with the early history or foundation
of states. Among these may be mentioned the gracefully
executed figure of the hero Leucaspis on coins of Syracuse ;

the Ajax on the coins of the Opuntian Locris ;

the hero
Byzas, the founder of Byzantium Phoenicai slaying Hype-

rochus on the coins of the ^Eneanes, a people of Thessaly ;

and Taras, the founder of Tarentum, on the coins of that city :

all these examples are small

full-length figures, offering a
striking contrast to the large boldly executed heads described
The biga and quadriga types referred to before are sup-

posed to have been first adopted in allusion to the Olympic

games. Alexander the Great was said to have ridiculed
his father Philip for placing a biga on his famous issue of
gold staters, in allusion to his victories in the chariot races.
The quadrigae on the Sicilian medallions have sometimes the
inscription A0AA, (prizes) in the exergue or lower portion of
the coin, above which appear several pieces of rich armour ;

and Colonel Leake in his learned work on the coins of

Syracuse, of opinion that many of these coins were struck
at the periods of games held in honour of particular deities,
the head of the deity occupying the obverse of the coin,
while a magnificent quadriga, the horses at full gallop,
occupied the reverse. The larger coins, or medallions,
the author appears to consider, were possibly struck on
purpose to pay to the victor the amount of the award
bestowed. A
luxurious mode of presenting a money prize
which was worthy of Greek refinement. The third period
may be said to extend from the period of Pericles of Athens,
to Pyrrhus king of Epirus, for the heads of deities and
heroic types continued their hold on the coinage for some
time after the portraits of princes were partially introduced,
and the period comprised within those epochs is that of the
finest Greek art as applied to the coinage, both for skill and

variety, an immense number of types appearing which were

unknown to the earlier stages of the art.


A fourth class of types may be formed into a separate
group, as marking the transition from the head of a deity
to that of a sovereign, as the
principal type of national
coinages. Of this class are those types, which, under the
attributes of a deity, present the features of a sovereign ;
such are supposed to be the portraits of Alexander the Great,
in the character of Hercules, and Ammon
that of
Jupiter ;

Lysimachus, with the attributes of the horned Bacchus ;

that of Seleucus, with the horns of a bull, &c.* These are

generally considered the first attempts to introduce a human
See chapter on coins of the Seleucidae.

portrait on the public coinage. It is well known, as a general

rule, that no positive portraits of princes are found on any
coinage, till after the death of Alexander the Great the ;

erection of even an iconic, or portrait statue to Miltiades,

after the great Athenian victory, being considered an
extraordinary event. But there are, nevertheless, a few
examples of an earlier period, which throw a doubt on this
position, as a rule without exception. For instance, coins of
the kings of Pseonia, cotemporary with Philip, the father of
Alexander, bear a head on the obverse, which is decorated
with a regal fillet, or bandlet, and which has no accompanying
symbol of a deity. Coins of similar character were also issued
by one or two kings of Macedonia, before the reign of Philip ;
but these heads may after all be those of deities, as a bandlet
of that description is an occasional attribute of more than
one divinity. Again, the correct attribution of these coins
is not certain, and
they may belong to princes subsequent to
the time of Alexander, of similar names.* In fine, as a
general rule, it may be safely assumed, that no positive por-
traits appear on coins till after the death of Alexander the
Great, those portraits of this prince without divine attributes,
which were formerly supposed to be of his time, being now
clearly proved to belong to a much later period, and to have
been struck in honour of his memory.
To about this period, that of Alexander the Great, belong
also the fine heads
personifying cities, such as those on the
coins of Smyrna, Damascus, and many other Greek cities in
the east, which are personified by a female head, wearing a
turretted crown the more ancient devices becoming subordi-

nate, or occupying the reverse, or becoming altogether super-

seded by a sitting figure of a deity similar to the sitting

Jupiter on the silver coinage of Alexander this figure is


most commonly Minerva sitting or standing, round which

the inscription appears, which never, or very rarely, accom-
panies the head on the obverse.

* The be especially
supposed portraits of Evagoras, King of Cyprus, may
mentioned. See Coins of Cyprus.


After the death of Alexander the Great, the powerful
leaders who had aided him in founding the vast Macedonian
empire, portioned it out into kingdoms for themselves.
Antigonus first assumed the title of King of Asia, and
then Ptolemy, who obtained Egypt for his share, assumed
the title, Basileus (king), on his coins, and afterwards
boldly placed his portraits upon them. Seleucus, who
obtained Syria, and a 'large portion of Central Asia as his
share, has left but one or two coins, which are supposed
to bear his portrait; but his successor at once imitated
Ptolemy in this respect : and while Lysimachus appears
to have contented himself with the appearance of his features
tinder the attributes of the horned Bacchus, Demetrius
Polyorcete, who eventually succeeded him in Macedonia,
struck coins bearing his own portrait a custom, by that time

so firmly established, that even the petty princes of small

districts in Asia, assumed the privilege, which was about the
same time adopted also by Hiero, King of Syracuse, and his
This must have been a great blow to the religious feelings
of the Greeks, who viewed with extreme jealousy the
assumption of privileges by these princes, which they had
ever considered exclusively devoted to the gods. Their
proudly democratic feelings revolted at the idea of any
assumption of superiority and it has been suggested, that

the iconic or portrait statue voted to Miltiades, after the

great victory at Marathon, may have been in some degree

the cause of his subsequent disgrace.

But the Greeks of the age of Alexander, were no longer
those of Salamis and Plataea, and they submitted. The
Athenians even allowed the semi-barbaric king of Pontus,
during his war with the Romans, to strike money at Athens,
with an inscription intimating that it was issued by his


Subsequent to the age of Alexander, and as the ancient

types became less and less venerated by states and cities
deprived of nearly all liberty, except the name, it became
customary to place the portrait of celebrated men on the
public coin. For instance, Smyrna, Amastris, and the
island of Chios, each claiming to be the birth-place of Homer,
struck coins bearing his portrait. The Mityleneans, of whose
island the celebrated Sappho was a native, struck coins
bearing a head wearing the mitra, a head-dress given to the
Muses, which is no doubt the portrait of Sappho mentioned
by Pollux, as existing on coins of that island, some of w hich

bear portraits of Theophanes, the historian.

The coins of Teos have the portrait of Anacreon playing
on the lyre and the portrait of Euclid, the pupil of Socrates,

is found on the coins of

On coins of Cos, the celebrated physician, Xenophon, of
Cos, appears, and on the reverse, he is complimented by the
presence of the goddess of health, Hygieia.
These portraits, as not being cotemporary, lose much of
their interest, but they were, no doubt, executed from well
authenticated originals ;
the heads of Homer agreeing
exactly with the well-known marble bust which has come
down to us inscribed with his name.
Coins bearing portraits of this description, have occasion-
ally been of great service in determining the name of a
portrait bust, which, though evidently done from life, either
directly, or as a copy from an original that was. from being
unaccompanied by a name, could not be identified while;

a coin bearing the identical head, accompanied by an in-

scription, revealed the name of the personage whose portrait
has been thus preserved through the lapse of ages.


I have already spoken of secondary types in my second

chapter ; but the minor types are quite distinct from
those, the secondary types being in most cases nothing

more than the original types of the state, removed from

the first to a secondary position, while the minor types
occur in such variety as to prove that they are extra national,
unless, like the mint-marks of modern coinage, they are
mere arbitrary marks to denote certain coinages. But this
view does not appear entirely satisfactory, when we find
frequently in these minor types the old national types of
many other states. On the Athenian coinage of a certain
period these minor types are very numerous and various,
among which are the rose of Rhodes, the lyre of Lycia, the
lion of Miletus, &c., which would rather seem to indicate a
monetary understanding with the states whose typeswere thus
used. The coins of Rhodes and other places, also present
small extraneous types of this description, which, though
most abundant on the far circulating coinage of Athens, are
yet found on the money of many other states, especially in
the Sicilian coinage and those of Magna Grseeia, among
which the coins of Metapontum afford a vast number of
very beautiful lesser types, in addition to the grand national
type of the ear of barley. Carelli has engraved a great
number of these lesser types separately, on account of their
beauty. The silver coins of Alexander the Great, struck in
Asia, have very frequently, in addition to his well known
types of the head of Hercules and the sitting Jupiter,
minute accompanying types of this description, which in
that case, however, have a somewhat different import, as
they are supposed to indicate the various cities where they
were struck. Those with the sphinx are attributed to Chios ;

those with the griffon to Teos or Abdera those with the


lion's head in profile to Cyzicus or Cnidus those with the


horse's head to Egea in Cilicia ;

those with the bee to
Ephesus with the rose, to Rhodes with the anchor, to
; ;

Aneyra ; with the double axe, to Tenedos with the torch,


to Amphipolis in Macedonia, &c.


The small types called countermarks are quite different

from such as have just been described above, and were evi-
dently struck on the coin after it had left the mint, possibly

by a state receiving a quantity of foreign coin, and thus

stamping it with its own national type to guarantee its cur-

rency, as equal to the native coin or at a fixed rate, much as

the Spanish dollars were countermarked at the mint for circu-
lation in this country during the scarcity of silver in the reign
of George the Third. The Greek countermarks are frequently
struck in the most beautiful part of the original types, as in
the middle of the cheek of a fine female head, for instance a ;

piece of barbarism for which it is difficult to give the artistic

Greeks credit, unless it was intentionally done to show the
superior value and importance of their own national types.
The coin given below, as affording an example of the

countermark, is of copper, and issued in Seriphus, a Greek

island. It bears the head of Medusa on one side, that of
Perseus on the other; Danae having arrived in that isle
with her infant son Perseus, and being well received by the
king Polydecte; in consequence of which tradition the
islanders may have erected temples to this hero, as at Argos,
Athens, and Mycene. The countermark is a thunderbolt,
which, as it is the type of several places, it would be impos-
sible to specify the precise one to which it belongs but it

answers equally well as an example of the system of coun-





IN the present short chapter on the inscriptions found on

Greek coins, I shall endeavour to discuss the subject with
some attention to chronological order, leaving those Greek
inscriptions which belong to the period when the Greek
states had become E-oman provinces, to be described sepa-
rately under the head of Imperial Greek, when treating of
the coins of the Eoman empire. For want of this systematic
arrangement many elementary works are calculated to confuse
the student and prevent his acquiring a clear and distinct
notion of the gradual development of the mode of in-
scription adopted on the Greek coinage. For instance,
when the titles, ATTONOMOI (autonomous), METPonoAEns
(of the Metropolis), NEOKOPHN (of the curators of the
temple), E*E2inN- A A2IA2 (of Ephesus, the first city of
Asia),* &c., all belonging to the firman period, are given
miscellaneously in an elementary work along with the
simple inscriptions of the periods of Greek independence,
it is
impossible that the student should not form a false
estimate of the nature of such inscriptions, as well as
of the period of their use. I shall, therefore, as far as
possible, adopt a strictly chronological arrangement, termi-
nating the subject in the present chapter with the latest
inscriptions that belong to the various Greek states during
the period of their independence, whether as repub-
lics or sovereignties, and reserving those which belong
to the period of their subjection to Rome to be treated
of, when describing the coins of the Eoman empire, except
where comparison of different epochs and manners may
appear advantageous or instructive.
* For Greek Roman on
description of inscriptions of the period, see article
Imperial Greek Coins.

The inscriptions one would naturally expect to find on the

earliest coinage, would be indications either of weight or
value, but such is not the case on the coinage of Greece or
any of her colonies ; and it was reserved for the strong
common sense of the Romans, to adopt this apparently
obvious course, to be described in its proper place. The
imaginative Greeks were more occupied with the fame of
their respective cities, and with the mythic legends con-
nected with their foundation; and we consequently find
their earliest money impressed with some symbol relative to
the especial worship established, or to the name of the
city, received from some circumstance connected with its
early mythology, as Athens from Athena, the Greek
Minerva, and Posidonia from Poseidon, the Greek Neptune :

others being more indirectly derived through some circum-

stance arising out of the connexion of the tutelary deity with
the early fortunes of the state, or from some attribute of the
divinity, asArgosfrom Apyfeis, (light or shining), as symbolic
of Apollo in his character of $01,80?, or the sun.
Another peculiarity in the inscriptions of Greek coins,
and one in which they differ from those of Borne, is, that
the inscriptions, when they occur in full, are written in the
genitive case, and most probably in the abbreviated forms
the genitive case is implied also while the inscriptions on

Boman coins are almost invariably in the nominative case ;

and where the Athenians would place the word A0ENAmN O ? f

the Athenians, or, as implied, money of the Athenians, at
Borne the name of the city, when it does appear, which is
only previous to the Empire, occurs in the nominative case,
as, simply, Roma (Borne). The same remark applies to the
coins of princes as of cities for while on the Greek coinage

we find the name of Alexander the Great in the genitive

case, AAEHANAPOY, "of Alexander," or "money of Alexander,"
on coins of the Boman Emperors the name occurs simply in
the nominative case, and appears to refer merely to the
portrait which it generally surrounds, as Ca3sar Augustus,
son of the Divine Julius," on the coins of Augustus.
Greek monetary inscriptions, or legends* as they are more

* Minute distinctions between legends and on made

inscriptions coins, are

technically termed, begin in the most simple manner, and

no coins of our time can convey any idea of them. At first,
the type alone was considered sufficient identification but ;

as the invention of coinage spread, and more than one place

adopted the same type, some farther distinction became neces-
sary. Thus, on some of the earliest known coins of Phocea,
we find the character 3>
(ph) in addition to the type, being
the initial letter of the name of the state Phocea. On the
early coins of JEgina, we find the three initial letters Air *
(Aig), as the A or AI of still earlier coins may have been
found insufficient to distinguish the name from that of
other places beginning with the same letters, when the
number of states issuing coins increased. The city of
Athens never, in the time of her independence, found
necessary to exceed the AE
(Athe), the first three
characters of its name ; but at Syracuse we find, at an early
period, the letters STPA (Syra), and very soon afterwards, the
name in full, 2TPAKO2mN (SyraJcosiori), in the genitive case,
signifying of the Syracusans," or rather, " money of the
Syracusans." Many places, however, never placed the full
name on the coinage till a very late period. Sovereigns
placed their names on the coins after the same mode of pro-
gression, from a single letter, as the following examples will
show A, alone, is found on coins attributed to Archelaus,

King of Macedon on coins of the kings of Cyprus, about


370 B.C., Evagoras appears as ETA (Eva) on those of ;

Amyntas, King of Macedon, we find AMTNT (Amynt) on ;

those of Perdiccas, FIEPAIK and eventually, on those of


Philip II. of Macedon, the name appears in full, as

<HAinnoY (Pkilippou), in the genitive case, "of Philip,"
the title, king, not being yet assumed, even by that
powerful prince. But there are a few rare exceptions to
princes, and we find on the
this rule, as regards the coins of
coins of Alexander I. of Macedon, which are as early as 480
or 500 B.C., the name in full, AAEHANAPO, the old form of the
genitive case,t and on a coin attributed by Mr. Millingen to
Gfelas, King of the Edonians, who, from the appearance of the

by technical numismatists, which need not be referred to in an elementary

* The
work. Greek mode of writing the name,
f As attributed by Mr. Borrell.

coin, considered a cotemporary of Alexander I., even

may be
the titleof Basileus (king) is assumed.* But this is a
rare exception for even Alexander the Great, the son of

Philip II., did not after his unparalleled conquests, assume

the title of King on the public money, his coinage merely
bearing his name, in the genitive case, AAEHANAPOY, "of
Alexander," as understood, money of Alexander.
On the autonomous coinage, at a comparatively early
period, the names of magistrates begin to occur, in addition
to the name of the state, and that of Epaminondas, as
a chief magistrate, connected with the direction of the
coinage, is supposed to occur on a coin of Thebes, as EIIA;
such names, however, appeared afterwards at full length,
and at a still later period, with the title of archon, or that
of some leading office superadded.
But to return to the earliest inscriptions, I may state that
there are other characteristics, by which their relative ages
may be approximately determined. One of the most marked
peculiarities is the unsettled state of the Greek alphabet ;
some oriental characters being in use at a certain period
which were afterwards abandoned. Of this, the most fre-
quent and remarkable example is the use of the Icopli p,
instead of the kappa, K, which occurs on the coins of Crotona
in Magna Graecia, and on the early coins of Corinth, of
which I have engraved an example in Plate III. the single ;

character p, as the initial letter of the name, being placed

beneath the horse. On early coins of Achaia, E is found,
which is the ancient form of $. The Greek RJio (our R)
is found on coins of the
very early period, written as ;
an approach to the B/oman B>, which together with the E
for 0>, and the L for A,f corroborates the assertion of Pliny
that the Greek alphabet was originally the same as the
B,oman. Another peculiarity is one referring rather to
poition than form the sigma (2), being placed on very early

coins thus, M J and the epsilon E, thus, w

The II is also

See Kings of Macedon.
f The L for A
used at a later period on regal coins, to express the word

AvKojSos (year), which precedes the dates found on some of those coins.
M is expressed on coins of Marmora by 2, so the sigma and the mu

appear to have changed places.


of singular form in the old inscriptions, being frequently

found, especially on early coins of Magna Graecia, as F;
while the theta appears on coins to undergo many successive
modifications, which are exhibited in an interesting manner
on the early coins of Thebes in Bceotia. The very earliest
of Boeotian coins have nothing to distinguish them but
the well-known type, the buckler. The first trace of an
them is the single initial letter of the name

for ;
it next becomes ....
and the
last variation previous to the adoption of
the perfect tlieta, is
a very near approach to the finally adopted form.
A peculiarity existing at a rather later period, is that in
which the genitive case of many words is formed with O,
instead of Q, as on the coin of Syracuse the earliest, with

the complete name, having 2YPAKO2ION, and the latter

Another peculiarity to be noted occasionally in the inscrip-
tions of early Greek coins, and some even not of the very
earliest periods, is the custom of writing the legend from
right to left in the oriental manner of which the coins of

the Greek city of Sybaris, in southern Italy, are an example.

The two initial letters of the city stand thus TM, instead of
2r; and must consequently be read, as we should say,
backwards, taking care not to mistake 2, placed M for M. ,

This ancient inscription is preserved on much more modern

coins of Sybaris while the name in full in modern

characters appears on the other side of the coin.* The

neighbouring city of Posidonia, will afford another example.
The three initial letters of which stand Mon, instead of nos ;

which, like the preceding, must be read from right to left,

and the position of the sigma transposed. The practice of
placing the inscriptions on coins to read from right to left
was continued in the south of Italy and Sicily for some

* See Carelli's Coins of ancient


time after the ancient form of the characters had been aban-
doned and may perhaps be accounted for by the close

neighbourhood of the Oscan and Samnite dialect, which,

being founded on the Phoenician, kept up the prevalence
of oriental forms. An example of the later practice of
writing from right to left, will be found in the coins of
Cumse, in Campania; the inscriptions of which stand
NOIAMTK for KTMAION (of the Cumaeans). And another in-
stance is that of the coin of Himera, in Sicily, the inscrip-
tion of which stands APE Mi for IMEPA to which may be;

added coins of Campania, with Minerva on the obverse,

and on the reverse the human-headed bull, and the inscrip-
tion, ONAIIMAK, for KAMHANO apparently struck by a con-

federation of Campanian towns, for circulation in the whole

of Campania. The transition appears to have been gradual,
foron some coins the inscription is found from left to right
on one side, and from right to lefton the other, as upon
Posidonian coins, of rather a later period than those
above mentioned. These inscriptions stand no2Ei, on the
obverse; and on the other side, AIMMOII, for ITOSEIA,
both being abbreviations of no2EiAONmN, " of the Posi-
The occasionally found on coins of the
earliest periods,and termed Boustropliedon, are so termed,
because they run like the furrows traced by an ox in
ploughing a field thus, after proceeding from left to right

in the usual manner to the end of the first line, the inscrip-
tion returns along the second from right to left, and then,
in the third line, back again in the usual manner from
left to right. It appears that this mode of writing was
not confined to coins, but was also at a certain period
made use of in inscriptions on marble, as the most usual
mode of recording important public enactments as we have ;

seen in the " Parian Chronicle," a series of ancient Attic

inscriptions on marble, now at Oxford, on which the cele-
brated passage relating to Phidon as the inventor of coined
money, is referred to. The laws of Solon were also inscribed
on marble tablets and from a passage in Pausanias, it is

believed that they .were written in the boustrophedon

manner, the lines running from left to right, and from right
to left, alternately.

The only examples of Boustrophedon inscriptions on coins,

for which I have room, are the following :

On a coin of the J TENEAI "1 -

--,,, ATrkW J Money of the
Island of Tenedos. NO ft EAION "

\ / \ people of Tenedos.
On a coin of the Italo- T
NFnnoAT "I

Greek city of Neapolis, <

2AT f
f r NEOnOAITA2 -

now Naples.
On a coin of f AKPAF 1 f
Agrigentum in Sicily. \ SOTNA J
On a coin of Acanthus J~ AK forAKAN.
in Macedonia. \ NA |

Occasionally, though more rarely, the inscriptions began

from right to left, returning from left to right, as on the
coins of Bhaucus, in Crete :


On Greek coins of the earlier periods, the name of the

city varies in its spelling, and in the mode of making the
genitive, according to the dialect. This circumstance occa-
sions difficulties in ascertaining the precise import of some
inscriptions, such as the greatest scholarship and general
learning have been unable in all cases to unravel. The
difficulties of this branch of the subject cannot be entered

upon here, but a few examples of the variation of one or two

names, according to the different dialects, may serve to
exhibit to the student the nature of the difficulties he will
have to encounter occasionally in endeavouring to interpret
inscriptions of this class.
Take for example the Greek name of Syracuse, which in
the Attic dialect is STPAKOTSAI, (SYRAKOUSAI), and which in
the Ionic is STPHKOSAI, (SYREKOSAI), and in Doric STPAKOSAI
(SYRAKOSAI). In the genitive case, usually made use of
in Greek coins, the Attic form of the name would make
STPAKorsmN, the Ionic STPHKorsmN, and the Doric
2TPAKO2iftN. As the city of Syracuse was a Corinthian
colony, and using the Doric or Peloponnesian dialect, that
dialect is most commonly found on the Syracusan coinage.
As exhibiting the necessity for some knowledge of the Greek

dialects, I may mention the existence of several towns of

the same name in different districts, the coins of which
cannot be respectively assigned except by the various
dialects exhibited in the inscription; thus the coins with
the inscription AHOAAONIATAN, in the Doric dialect, are
most probably of Apollonia in Illyria, a city of Doric origin,
and could not be of Apollonia in Thrace, while those on the
other hand inscribed AnoAAONiTEflN, could belong to no city
where the Doric dialect was likely to be used. But these
lingual indications are not afforded in cases where the
initial letters only of the name occur.
In pursuing the progress of Greek inscriptions, it has
been necessary to pass over a few peculiarities which
gradually appeared, and developed themselves during the
period I have just passed over. The first to be mentioned
is that of certain cases in w hich the initial letter of the name

of the state is made to form the principal type of one side

of the coin, as is the case of some coins of Argos, in which a
large A filling the entire field occupies the reverse of the coins
like a principal type.
The next is the gradual appearance of monograms, which
became pretty general about 350 B.C., and soon after that
time nearly universal. Few coins appearing without them,
especially the regal series about to be described. Few of
these monograms have been satisfactorily described, but the
annexed examples will show their general character. All
the examples as yet interpreted exhibit the names of cities
or states, but others probably contain the names of princes,
magistrates, and dates, &c. 'Below are four specimens.

Achaia. Panormus. ferr Heraclea. Leontium.

|u|O JJyCj

In the later times of their waning independence the most

celebrated Greek cities occasionally placed the names of
princes on their coinage, of which that of Athens offers a
signal example. "When Mithridates the Great, about 87 B.C.,
in his struggle with the Boman power, had caused an army
to advance into Greece which was well received by Aristion,
who had established a kind of despotism at Athens, Athenian
money was struck with the inscription (in addition to the
usual A@E) BA2IAET2 MI0PAAATH2, "the king Mithridates,"
and some in the genitive case, as actually of the king
Mithridates." The name of the tyrant Aristion also appears
upon the money. Similar instances of the gradual influence
of despotic power on the autonomous coins of Grecian states
as exhibited in the inscriptions, might be cited.
"When the whole of Asiatic Greece was under the dominion
of Alexander the Great and his successors the Seleucidae,
the native inscriptions, like the types, frequently shrunk into
a secondary position,* a single letter, or a monogram, while
those of the sovereign princes were written at full length.
As examples of single letters being used at this period to
indicate the name of the city, the national inscription thus
shrinking again to its primitive dimensions, the coins of
Damascus with A in the field may be cited.
A very interesting series of inscriptions remains to be
alluded to, the import of which is of very modern discovery.
These are such as KIMHN *prriAAO2 ETAINETO, &c., found
on some of the most finely executed coins of Syracuse.
These names are now considered by all numismatists to be
indisputably those of the accomplished artists who produced
these exquisite specimens of engraving. They were long
considered, like other secondary inscriptions, to be those of
magistrates, but the manner in which they are placed upon
the coins, when well considered, is ample proof that they do
not bear an official character for while the names, abbre-

viated or in full, of magistrates, are written in characters

of the same size as those of the name of the state and
placed in a conspicuous part of the field, those of the
names in question are minute, and placed in the least con-
spicuous places, where indeed they might easily pass
unobserved. That of Cimon, or more properly Kimon, for
instance, appearing in small and delicately raised characters
011 the body of the
dolphin under the head of Proserpine, on
the fine Sicilian medallion in Plate V. That of Evainetus
occurs on a small tablet held by the flying Victory over a
quadriga. The names of Euclideas and Eumenes, also appear
on the Sicilian coins, sometimes on a bandlet, a necklace, or

Nearly all the Greek cities in Asia struck money during the reign of
Alexander, on which the types and inscriptions of that prince hold the first
place, while the native types only appear as miniature mint marks.

other ornament calculated to receive it, without disfiguring

the general effect of the type. Evainetus placed his name on
coins as small as the pentatitron, or drachma, and it is found
sometimes on coins which have that of Eumenes on the
other side.
The first name discovered on a coin, which was supposed
to be that of the artist, was on a coin of Cydonia, in Crete,
which has the inscription, NETANQYS EIIOEI (sic), " made by
Neuanthus." An exquisite coin of Clazomene, in Ionia, was
afterwards found with a small inscription, EOAOTOS EIIOIEI,
" made Theodotus." M. Baoul Eochette
by next discovered,
not by accident, but by careful research, that of Phrygillos,
on a small Syracusan medallion, with the head of Arethusa.
M. Eochette having discovered that the famous gem en-
graver of that name was probably a native of Syracuse, and
considering that the same class of artists also engraved coins,
was induced to make the researches which have led to the
subsequent discovery of all the names above-mentioned for ;

the Syracusan series were soon ransacked by every numis-

matist after this discovery, and all the names above alluded
to discovered in rapid succession.
In looking over several specimens of the coinage of
several cities of Magna Gra?cia, I have observed similar
inscriptions in smaller characters, which may prove also
to be the names of engravers, especially those of the
Eletans, or Hyeletans one of which, with a beautiful full-
face of Minerva, has the name KAETAHPOT on a band across
the helmet ; another, a profile of Minerva, has the name
*iM5TinNO2 also on a part of the helmet. Both these fine
coins have on the reverse a lion holding in his mouth a club,
with the inscription, YEAHTHN.
In a chapter on Greek inscriptions it is hardly possible to
pass over the subject of countermarks without observation ;
but it will be sufficient to state, that in the Autonomous
period these marks generally consist of small types*
instead of inscriptions, and that most of the coins, when
inscriptions occur instead, belong to the Roman period.

* See end of
chapter on Greek types, page 218.


We have seen how the inscriptions on Greek coins

originated, and how they gradually increased in fullness from
their primeval brevity, both on coins of cities and on those of
princes how on those of the latter class the letter A alone

was deemed sufficient on coins of Archelaus of Macedon;

ETA on coins of Evagoras, King of Cyprus, followed by other
gradations, until the name appears in full, which was generally
about the time of Philip II., or perhaps rather before those
of Mausolus, King of Caria, being in full, as MAT22nAAO (in
the Doric form) of Mausolus. The title of Basileus (king)
was not, however, yet placed on the public coinage.*
Some have asserted that the title, Basileus, occurs in the
inscriptions of the coins of Philip II. of Macedon but the ;

coins alluded to those of his natural son, Philip

Arrhida3us, who succeeded Alexander the Great, and reigned
for a very short time. It was towards the close of the reign
of Alexander that the Greeks first submitted to see a title of
that description placed upon the public money the early

coins of the conqueror bearing simply the inscription

AAEHANAPOT, "of Alexander ;" but afterwards, the title Basileus
appears as BASIAEHS AAEEANAPOT, "of the King Alexander."
It is possible, however, that the coins bearing the title of King
were not struck during the life of Alexander, for it is well
known, that for sometime after his death, the great captains
who eventually divided the empire, continued to strike money
bearing his types and it is possible, that with the intention

of paving the way to their own ambitious views, they added

the title of Basileus. Certain it is, that shortly afterwards,
Antigonus assumed the title of King of Asia, which we find on
his coins, as BASIAEHS ANTiroNor, " of the King Antigonus."
Shortly after, Seleucus, in Syria, Ptolemy, in Egypt, and
Lysimachus, in Thrace, also a'ssumed the regal title on their
respective coinages, and the custom from that time became
firmly established among the Greek sovereignties in Asia,
Africa, and Europe. Agathocles, tyrant of Syracuse, and
* "With one or two remarkable See ante, page 224.

afterwards the family of Hiero, assumed the title in Sicily;

even barbaric nations, such as the Grauls, newly settled in the
district called after them Gralatia, styled themselves kings on
the coinage they issued.
The age of Greek liberty had passed, and one of submission
and servile adulation had taken its place. The supreme
title of king did not long remain in its simple form. Ptolemy of
Egypt assumed upon his coins the title of Soter, Saviour,"
bestowed upon him by the Khodians, who had received great
favours from him, and who, after consulting the oracle of
Ammon on the propriety of conferring this high title, erected
a temple to him as a god. When this title appears upon his
coins, it is generally unaccompanied by that of king," being,
says Yisconti, greater than king. Cicero says, speaking of
the word Soter (o-tor^p), that it is so great that it cannot be
translated into any one Latin word it would seem that it

should be read Saviour- God. It had previously been applied

only to the gods, in cases where special services were believed
to have been afforded to a state by a particular deity, as in
the case of the head of Diana with the inscription Soteira
found on the coins of Syracuse, as a " saviour-goddess." The
title, however, became far from uncommon on coins of

princes from the time of Ptolemy I. to the Christian era, as

also that of god Qebs (Theos) the profiles of Ptolemy

and Berenice on coins struck by their son Ptolemy Phila-

delphus, being accompanied by the short inscription, EOI
indeed, from this epoch we may trace the idea of
kings by Divine right.'
The effigies of gods alone had been
placed on the public coinage before the time of Alexander, and
it was
only as Hereules, or the son of Ammon, that he could
appear on the coinage. On the establishing of independent
kingdoms by his generals, they each assumed descent from
some deity Seleucus from Apollo, Lysimachus from Bacchus,
&c. claiming thus by divine descent, or right, their place
on the public money. Additions were soon made even to
these high titles, in the shape of such epithets as Nicator,
the victorious, Epiphanes, illustrious, Theopator, whose
father is a god, &c. Eventually many of these titles
are found in the same inscription, as on the coins of
Antiochus III., King of Syria,* BASiAEru ANTIOXOY EOT

See coins of the Seleucidse.


Em*ANOT (of the King Antiochus, the god, the illustrious).

On the coins of some of the Lagidae and Seleucidse, AIONYSOT
is added to other titles,
implying that the sovereign equals that
divinity in youth and beauty.* Some of the titles, are how-
ever, more modest AIKAIOT, "of the just" ETEPFETOY, "of
the beneficent" <HAAAEA*OT, "of theloverof his brother," &c.
On coins of the Parthian dynasty of the Arsacidse, the
epithet *IAEAAHNO:S, "lover of the Greeks," figures among
the inscriptions of the coinage, as on the coins of Ario-
barzanesand Ariarathes, Kings of Cappadocia,andof Maumus,
King of Arabia, ^IAOPHMAIOY, "lover of the Romans."
On the Parthian coins, as the Greek influence gradually
gave way to more oriental forms, the most magniloquent
inscriptions are found, of which one example must suffice,
which occurs on a coin of Arsaces XII., it stands
TOP02 *IAEAAHN02, of the king of kings, Arsaces, the
great, the just, the beneficent, the illustriously born, the lover
of the Greeks." The title Megalos, great, is very frequently
superadded, but for further examples of remarkable inscrip-
tions the student is referred to the chapters of the various
regal dynasties, where many others will be found.
A peculiarity to be noted in the inscriptions of the later
regal coins is the nearly universal adoption of the square
sigma c instead of 2, which is very frequently found almost
in the form of the Roman C. It is also worthy of remark,
that very soon after the establishment of the various
Greek kingdoms by the generals of Alexander the Great, a
more decorative style of writing was adopted on coins,
the letters termed by numismatists nailed letters coming
into use about that period. They have the addition of a
small knob at the extremities in the manner shown in

the annexed epsilon,

The most interesting and valuable peculiarity of the

inscriptions of the regal class of Greek coins is the dates
by which they are frequently accompanied. The dates are
expressed by numerals formed of Greek letters, as the
Roman numerals are by Roman letters, and refer to several

* See coins of
the Lagidae, Seleucidse, &c.

epochs that of the foundation of the Seleucidan monarchy

in Syria, for instance the Pontic era, which is that of the first

accession of the regal power of the kings of Pontus, formerly

satraps of the Persian empire ; sometimes that of the year of
the prince's reign, or that of the battle of Actium, which
latter, however, belongs rather to the Eoman period. The
following is a list of Greek numerals :

,, .


Jens ,
I 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80

77i,/7,W '
\ 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900

These numerals are sometimes preceded by the character L,

the ancient form of A, expressing the word year, being the
initial of AvKafias and sometimes by E for ETOTS- Thus, on

the coins of Ptolemy Philadelphus, we find L. Ar, expressing

the year 33 of his reign. By the same means of numbering,
240 would be SM, and 245 2MB, &c.
The following are some of the eras from which dates on
coins of the period in question are dated :

The Pontic era, dated from the accession to regal power of

the race of the Kings of Pontus and the Bosphorus, B.C. 301.*
The Seleucidan era, from the establishment of the Syrian
Empire by Seleucus Nicanor,t October 1st, B.C. 312.
The era of the battle of Actium, B.C. 29. The dates on
the Ptolemseic series generally refer to the year of the king's
There are several other eras too numerous to particularise
in an elementary work, but I must not omit to state that about
this period, dates are found on autonomous as well as regal
coins, and that many of the cities founded by Alexander and
his successors, placed dates upon their coins which refer to the
epoch of their foundation. These dates on the coins of towns
are sometimes, though seldom, preceded by L or E as on regal
coins ; and another peculiarity respecting them is, that the
lower number is placed first, and the highest second, as on

* See coins of
secondary dynasties,
f See chapter on coins of the Seleucidae.

coins of Antioch M (40) and A (4) standing thus, AM, to ex-

press 44. A
coin, though properly belonging to the Roman
it is one of
period, may here be cited for the illustration ;

Pompeiopolis, having the head of Aratus on one side, and that

of Chrysippus on the other,* with the date 0.K.C. (229)
instead of C.K.0. The unit being placed first, the decimal
second, and the centenal last. It is also to be observed that
in dates of the later periods the sigma 2, 200, is expressed by
the square sigma c thus ; sometimes nearly like a Roman C,
as in the example just given.
I have only treated of inscriptions in the Greek language
in the foregoing portion of this chapter, which form, indeed,
the great bulk of monetary inscriptions previous to the Roman
period. Other nations not having copied the Greek invention
of coined money, until a period when the coinage of that
people had already attained to a very advanced stage of its
progress. The following is a list of languages found on
ancient coins previous to the Roman period, all of which are
more recent than the earliest Greek :

1. Greek 9. Hebrew
2. Phoenician 10. Samaritan
3. Punic 11. Persian or Pehlvic. Early
4. Celtiberian Persian between Doric
5. Etruscan period and Alexander.
6. Oscan 12. Arian
7. Samnite 13. Barbarous dialects.
8. Bilingual Inscriptions

1. Of the Greek inscriptions sufficient has been said.

2. The Phoanician inscriptions are found on the coins of
Tyre and other Phoenician towns, about the period of
Alexander, and are sometimes accompanied by Greek in-
scriptions. The Phoenician alphabet has been sufficiently
made out to decypher the names of towns with some degree
of certainty, but ignorance of the language has hitherto
prevented the explanation of any other words.
The Punic, the language of Carthage, is a dialect of the
The custom of placing the heads of celebrated men on the coinage does
not belong to the period of Greek independence, or, at all events, only to its
latest phase, as shown in the Chapter on types.

Phoenician, and is found on the money of that republic, none

of which dates earlier than the best period of the art as
developed in Sicily, where indeed most of the Carthaginian
money is supposed to have been coined by Greek artists,
though some is considered to have been struck in Africa, at
Carthage. Of the Punic, as of the Phoenician, little more
than the alphabet is known, and that imperfectly, so that
little can be said in this place, as even the names of towns
written in the Punic character cannot be read with cer-
tainty but something on the subject will be found in the

chapter on Greek coins of the finest period, article,

3, 4. The Celtiberic language appears to be a mixture of
the Punic, the original Phoenician, the Greek, and perhaps
some of the native dialects of Spain it is confined to the

coinage of that country, which belongs wholly to a com-

paratively recent period *. (See coins of Spain.)
5, 6,and 7. The Etruscan, Oscan, and Samnite languages
are foundon coins of central Italy, which generally belong to
the Roman series, and to be there described, but occasionally
inscriptions in these languages, at all events the latter, occur
on coins of Greek cities of southern Italy, previous to their
subjection to Home ; in some instances in conjunction with
Greek inscriptions, and these bilingual legends have been of
great service in aiding to decypher the Oscan and Samnite
characters. But even the alphabet of these languages is but
imperfectly made out, and nothing further is known.
They are all Pelasgic dialects allied to the Phoenician, and
were the only languages of Southern Italy, prior to the
arrival of the earliest Greek colonies in the south of the
Peninsula. But as they only learned the art of coining
from the Greeks, no coinage with inscriptions in these
dialects exists till a comparatively late period of the Greek

occupation of the country, though the language occurs

occasionally, but rarely, on very early coins of the Greek
colonies, f
8. Bilingual inscriptions occur on Greek coins of many
periods. The earliest are probably the Samnite and Greek
* With the
exception of the Greek colonies, alluded to elsewhere,

f See Carelli's plates of the coins of ancient Italy.


legends on some early coins of Magna Graecia. The next in

succession are the Punic and Greek legends on the coins of
the Carthaginian portion of Sicily: at a later period, the
Phoenician and Greek inscriptions on the coins of Tyre,
after its re-establishment by Alexander the Great, and on
some other coins of Greek cities of that district of Asia.
The latest examples are those Greek and Arian and other
Indian and Scythian dialects, on the Greek series generally,
known as coins of Bactria.*
9 and 10. Hebrew and Samaritan inscriptions are only
found on the series of Jewish coins, issued by the Maccabees,
and their successors in Judea.f
11. Persian or PeJilvic inscriptions are found on the
coinage of the Sassanida3, the Persian princes who overthrew
the Gra3co- Parthian power in Central Asia.J
12. Arian inscriptions, and inscriptions in other Indian
and Scythian dialects, are found accompanied by Greek ones
on the coins of the Bactrian series.
13. Barbarous and unexplained dialects are found occa-
sionally on rude coins of Spain, and on coins of districts
bordering the Thracian Bosphorus, but which possess
little historical interest and none as regards art.

* See
chapter on Greek coinage in Bactria.
*fSee the Shekel and other coins of the Jews.
J See coins of the Sassanidse.
See coins of Bactria.



THE history of art in its highest form, that of personifying

the highest conceivable qualities of divinity and humanity,
originated in the noblest feelings of which the nature of
man is capable those of religious aspirations. When the
thinking power of man first acquired sufficient consistency
to perceive and to examine the wonderful framework of
the universe, then arose his conviction of the existence of
some unlimited power or powers by which such a vast
combination could have been effected.* His ideas of Deity
then arose, and in any striking deviation from the ordinary
course of natural laws, the hand of divine direction was at
once inferred. Hence eclipses, the appearance of comets,
the grand effect produced by thunder and lightning, and
other natural phenomena, were considered immediate signs of
the divine language, in which the mighty will of the Gods was
made known, and various interpretations given, according to
the habits or degrees of civilisation of different races.
But one phenomenon far beyond any other, as its effects
did not disappear like that of a comet or a thunder-storm,
seems more especially to have influenced the most noble of
the fine arts, that of sculpture. This was the fall of
aerolites, an extraordinary phenomenon, which in a certain
stage of man's mental development could not fail to
be invested with a mythic character; and the positive
presence of the local deity was thought to be expressed in
the fall of these masses of stone from the heavens. Stone
worship thus arose in the East. Yenus was first worshipped
at Paphos under the form of a conical stone, no doubt an
aerolite, a record of which is preserved on the Greek
coinage of the Imperial or Roman period. The Juno of
* The Gentile nations are here alluded to, and not those races who received
their ideas of primitive creation from the books of Moses.

the Thespians and the Diana of Icaria were likewise

worshipped under the form of masses of stone, and the
famous Syrian divinity, El Gabal (the stone), carried to
Borne with great pomp by Eliogabalus,* was the origin of
the surname of that Emperor, who established a temple at
Rome for the worship of the eastern divinity.
A column of stone was long used by the primitive Greeks
as a representation of a deity, and the statue, which it
eventually became, received the name of its prototype, the
mere column of stone being called KIO>V (ki5n).
The twin Dioscuri, we are told, were at Sparta repre-
sented by two columns of stone or wood joined together by
a transverse piece and the first effort, it would seem, to

give more effect, was carving the upper portion into the
rude resemblance of a head. The first attempt to improve
this first rude type of the embryo statue was the indication
of the arms and hands, and the legs and feet, which were,
not, however, till long after separated from the main mass ;

and the bold innovator, who first effected the gigantic stride
in the art of sculpture which detached the arms from the
block and separated the legs, was said to be Daedalus, a
semi-fabulous personage, to whom works were attributed in
full faith in the time of Pausanias. In consequence of the
improvements attributed to him, the ancients describe the
works of Daedalus as distinguished by an appearance of life,
and even divine inspiration. The stiff statuary of Egypt will
convey a tolerably correct idea of the style of art immedi-
ately preceding that attributed to Daedalus, which was still
in practice as late as 500 B.C., and the Greek art, generally
termed archaic^ was no doubt of this class.
Art at that time was hereditary in certain families, and
many practising this style claimed to be direct descendants of
Daedalus. This genealogy of art was accepted in the time
of Socrates, the great philosopher but wretched sculptor,
who claimed to be a Daedalid.
* The name
of Elgabalus is also spelt Heliogabalus, and is thought by some
to be derived from his having been a priest in the temple of the Sun.
f The term archaic, though strictly meaning nothing more than old, is
generally applied to that period of Greek art in which a certain treatment and
formality marks its transition from the rude character of its earlier efforts to
the bold freedom of the Phidian age.

It has been said that it is futile to attempt to trace the

descent of art from one nation to another, because certain
resemblances may be traced in its earlier stages, which
must of necessity be similar in all nations as the earliest

works of the Chinese or Japanese, would in their rude first

efforts, of necessity, resemble those of the primitive Greeks,
as much as they undoubtedly do those of the Polynesian or
American savages yet, we may undoubtedly trace in neigh-

bouring nations which have been closely connected by

colonisation or kindred, a kind of hereditary lineage in art
which cannot be disproved. And in this way, Greek art,
however superior, must be acknowledged to be an offshoot of
the Egyptian. Egyptian civilisation, as far as we have the
means of knowing, preceded that of all other countries * with
which the Greeks and the nations of "Western Asia held
intercourse, and it seems plain from the recent discoveries
in Assyria, at Nimroud, and Khorsabad, that the style of
art of those countries was immediately derived at a
certain period of its development, from that of Egypt. But
native elements combining with it, especially those which
endeavoured to give it a more servilely natural aspect, gave to
it at the same time a national character,
very distinct from
that of the more imaginative and architectonic character of
that of the Egyptians. From this Assyrian art it appears
probable that the arts of Lydia and Caria took their parti-
cular tone, from whence the Asiatic Greeks derived the means
of stepping from the first rude attempts of semi-barbarous
art to that more advanced stage, at which it appears upon
the earliest coins. That the Lydians and other nations were
much more advanced in this art than the Greeks at the
time of Homer, we learn, from several passages in his poems.
The mode of treating the limbs of the human figure on the
earliest Greek coins, exhibits strong evidence of this origin
of Grecian art, especially the sharp deep marking of the
muscles of the legs and arms. Of this, the strongest evi-
dence may be obtained by close examinations of some of the
earliest coins of Macedonia, such as No. 10, Plate II., Nos.
9, and 2, Plate IY., and the symbolic treatment of the lion

* The claims of the Chinese to extreme

antiquity being placed out of the
present question, as utterly distinct.

and the bull of Nos. 2 and 3, Plate I., and No. 10, Plate IY.,
which strongly resemble the leading characteristics of
Assyrian and Babylonian sculpture. That such should be
the case is very natural, when we take into consideration the
close neighbourhood of the Asiatic colonies of Greece with
those nations and that the progress of the arts in Greece

proper, even up to a certain epoch, was led by that of the

artistic development taking place in her Asiatic colonies,

appears also more than probable.

But though it seems likely that we must assign an Asiatic
origin to the arts of Greece, yet we must, at the same time,
at once concede that the simple and yet grand mode of treat-
ment which the Hellenic organisation communicated to these
arts, eventually invested them with a sublimity of character
that art never attained in any other nation of antiquity, and
which all the refinements of civilisation have, as yet, not
enabled any modern nation to attain.
The earliest types of Greek coins possess in their embryo
state the element of sublimity, which afterwards distinguished
the greatest works of her greatest artists. This consists in
the one-mindedness, the simplicity, with which they are
conceived and executed. Simplicity is the great stamp of
genius, and genius the leading characteristic of the Grecian
mind. It was in the simplicity of genius that Grecian
artists acquired those secrets of art at once so complete,
and so difficult of acquirement, and which arose from that
beautiful constitution of mind which views all things in their
clear and naked unity. The exquisite repose of Grecian
art arises from this quality true genius is calm, because
it is confident, and confident, because it is strong. It is
mediocrity which, in its ineffectual but continual effort, loses
that beautiful repose necessary to high art, and becoming
troubled in its purpose, exaggerates expression, multiplies
means, and squanders accessories, till all calm, all repose, in
short, all of that great ingredient of the highest art
simplicity, is lost.
How finely we see this grave simplicity exemplified, even
through the rugged execution of the lion's head on the gold
stater of Melitus (PI. I., No. 1), in the seal on the Phocean
coin, No. 6, in the same plate, how the execution of that
simple image is filled alone with, and possessed by, its

subject. By thus acting simply, genius reserves to itself all

its spontaneous freedom and originality, and all its native
vigour, for real execution, instead of wasting
it in vain

contortions, and the pursuit of some more complicated vision,

which, if accomplished, would not speak to the spectator
with that singleness of expression, that oneness of aspect,
which rivet the immediate attention, even of the vulgar, and
constitute, in short, the secret of the sublime in art.
To speak of these early works as possessing anything
more than the germ of this high quality would be absurd,
but that they do possess that germ in a very remarkable
manner, is equally evident.
Let us turn to the simple tortoise, on the early silver
drachma or didrachma of ^gina, (PL II., Nos. 1, 2, 3,) and
we shall see the same grand quality displayed, while in the
rude groups of the Macedonian coins of Lete, (PI. II., No. 4 ;

and PL IV., No. 9,) we have the grandeur and simplicity in

a rude form of execution, which subsequently characterised
those groups of Centaurs and Amazons, with which the
matchless chisel of Phidias afterwards enriched the famous
metopes of the Parthenon.
The advance of art in Greece was most rapid from the

period of the battle of Salamis to the age of Phidias,

scarcely fifty years elapsed, and yet in that period art had
emerged from archaism to the highest pitch of excellence it
has ever attained.
Archaism, though the intrinsic value of the term means
merely old, is in art, generally meant to express that tran-
sition from the rude to the excellent, which generally exhibits
itself in a greater power of execution, which is at first con-
fined to more careful manipulation alone the result of which,

is a curious neatness of execution accompanied by great

stiffness, to which, in modern art, the quaint but not

unpleasing works of the fifteenth century may be compared.
Of this quaintness of style, termed archaic in classical art,
the coin of Gelas, Plate V., affords a good example; or the head
of Minerva on the drachma of Methymne, (PL IY. No. 8 ;)
or in a ruder form, the head of the same deity on the Athenian
coin, No. 7, on the same Plate ;
but the coinage does not
afford so many existing examples of this phase of Greek art,
though many more might be cited, as do the remains of Greek

sculpture in marble, especially the pediments of temples,

with all their sculptural decorations arranged as in situ,
now in the British Museum, which, being discovered in
JEgina, have caused that phase in the progress of the art to
be termed by some, " the school of^Egina."
The remarkable style of the coins of Macedonia and
Thrace about the time of Alexander, has, with some rudeness,
nearly all the vigour of a later period.*
Every step from the rudeness of primeval art, through
the quaint neatness of the archaic period, to the spiritual
freedom of its highest epoch, may be observed on a
well selected series of the coins of Acanthus, bearing the
group of the lion and the bull. A
coin of nearly, but
not quite, the highest period of this type is engraved
PL IV, No. 11.
Of Greek coins of the finest period it would be very difficult
to point out a small number, as exhibiting all the greatest
qualities of excellence; but the early promise of great perfec-
tion in the treatment of animals is fully borne out on coins of
every class and on the coins of the Greek colony of Heraclea,

in southern Italy (PLY.), the group of Hercules and the

Nemean lion, which appears in great variety of treatment on
the coins of that city, is most admirable, especially the lion.
The dolphin, or rather porpoise, which was the dolphin of
the ancients, is treated with exquisite grace on the coins of
Tarentum, and that group, of which it forms a part, is one
of the most beautiful productions of ancient art while the ;

variety with which it is treated, (Carelli having engraved

above thirty-six striking varieties of this single type,) shows
the great facility with which these graceful inventions were
thrown off"
by the Greek engravers a facility which was
rendered necessary by the nature of the process by which
the impressions had to be produced. This peculiarity prin-
cipally consisted in the want of knowledge of a means of
hardening the dies, in consequence of which, only a limited
number of impressions could be taken from each, so that
the continual reproduction of the dies taxed the ingenuity of

* It is not wonderful that art of a bold and

striking character should be
found on coins of this period, when we consider that at the time of Alex-
ander I., the great artists Onatas, Ageladas, and Polygnotus, already flourished
in Greece, and that in Ionia the arts were still more advanced.

the Greek artists to the utmost. This, however, was not the
case in the coinage of some particular states, such as
.ZEgina and Athens, where the celebrity acquired by their
coins in foreign countries caused the ancient types to be
very strictly adhered to each time the dies were rene >ved.

For a notice of a series of Greek coins, all belonging to

the finest periods of art, the reader is referred to Chap. VI. ,

in which the coinage of Sicily figures as one of most

remarkable excellence; indeed, the cities of Syracuse,
Acragentum, Catana, &c. in Sicily, and those of Thurium,
Tarentum, Neapolis, Heraclea, Metapontum, &c.. in the
south of Italy, are by some considered to have produced
more beautiful specimens of the art than any other city,
either of Greece proper, or her celebrated Asiatic colonies,
even the luxurious and refined Ionia.
"When we examine the noble decadrachm of Syracuse,
with the superb head of Proserpine or Ceres on the obverse,*
and the magnificent quadriga on the reverse, the spirited
and dashing grandeur of which is worthy of a Phidias or a
Lysippus, we must acknowledge that nothing of the same
fascinating character occurs on the coinage of the parent
states of Greece. For example, the bigae on the states of
Philip of Macedon, though executed half a century later,
and no doubt by the best artists that could be procured in
Greece, are not for a moment comparable to the magnificent
bigae and quadrigae of the Sicilian coinage.
A similar comparison may be drawn between the noble
head of Pallas on the coins of Thurium, and that of the
same deity on the coins of Athens, where the palm must
certainly be ceded to the former.
But there are yet excellences observable on the coinage
of Greece and the Asiatic colonies, which are of perhaps a
higher character of art, though neither so elaborate or
fascinating. The head of Jupiter on the finest didrachms of
Philip of Macedon, for instance, is exceedingly grand, and
that on the well known tetradrachm of Pyrrhus of Epirus,
and above all, that on the celebrated tetradrachm of Anti-

* Most name Kore

prohahly Proserpine ;
the occurring on some coins with
that head, which implies daughter or virgin, as it also means " the pupil of the
eye," affords the opportunity of punning passages in certain Greek authors,
Avhich Longinus has especially condemned.

gonus all no doubt executed by Greek artists the latter


one is so fine as to defy rivalry, though neither in such high

relief, so finished, nor of so early an epoch as the tetradrachms
of Syracuse. The fine head of Diana on some of the finest
coins of Ephesus, that of the human-headed bull on those
of Arcanania, the device on the coins apparently struck by
the Amphictyonic Council, the beautiful head of Juno on
the coins of Argos, and the Pegasus on the coins of Corinth,
are examples of art in which the coinage of Greece
stand a comparison with that of her celebrated colonies
in Sicily and Southern Italy. The exquisite manner in which
the full face of Apollo is treated on coins of Amphipolis
is another
example of the excellence of Greek art in a
peculiar phase, with which indeed Sicilian and Magna-
Gra3cia examples cannot vie, for the front faces on coins of
these colonies, are over-laboured, and do not exhibit the
same bold and fearless relief as those of Amphipolis, which
in their turn are perhaps surpassed by the head of Apollo on
the coins of Mausolus, king of Caria some which, all in

front face, are of most remarkable beauty while the same


head treated in a similar manner on the coins of Rhodes, is

also of great excellence, as well as the exquisite gold coins
of Clazomene engraved in Plate V. The custom of repre-
senting a full face on the public coinage appears to have
been abandoned after a short epoch, to which nearly all
the above mentioned examples belong, on account of being
subject to great wear in the most prominent features,
which rapidly disfigured faces treated in that manner,
while the principal wear upon profiles took place upon the
hair, by the prominence of which the features of the face
were protected.
Of the excellence and variety of the devices of the reverse
of the Grecian coinage in general, the coins engraved in
Plate V., and the list of types appended to the end of the
chapter descriptive of that "plate, will be sufficient evidence.
They began to attain great excellence even before the art
of coining had advanced beyond the period, where the square
punch-mark is still visible on the back, and for an account
of their progress at that period, the reader is referred to the
chapter descriptive of Plate IV.
In addition to the principal types on Greek coins, it has
R 2

been seen that small secondary types were used, either as a

mere "mint mark," or to denote commercial relations with
the state whose monetary type was thus added. These small
types became gradually more and more frequent, exhibiting
in their treatment, about the period of Alexander the Great,
a breadth and grandeur of style in every way equal to that
of the large types, though occasionally so microscopic as to
be scarcely noticeable by the naked eye. Those secondary
types, used in the way of counter-marks, and impressed
subsequently by another state to denote the acceptation
for home circulation of a foreign coin, in the way that
Spanish dollars were counter-marked with a small head of
George III. during a scarcity of silver money in England,
will be found treated of under the head of counter-marks
both in the chapters on inscriptions and on types.
That the most skilful engravers were employed upon the
dies for the public coinage of the Grecian states, is at once
evident from the elegance of the designs, and the exquisite
beauty, in many instances, of every department of the
manipulation. Prom passages in Pliny and other ancient
authors, it appears most probable that the same class of
artists to whom we are indebted for antique engraved gems,
both in relief and in intaglio, was also employed upon
the dies used for striking coins; that these two styles of
engraving both pertained to the same branch of art, was
rendered more probable by the discovery, that the fine gem
of Athenion, mentioned by "Wmkelman, was repeated on a
Homan coin in the Alboni collection, and evidently by the
same hand. This and other similar evidence induced
M. Eaoul Hochette and others to seek for similar coincidences
on the Greek coinage. Phrygillos is the name of a Greek
engraver, or sculptor of gems, whose name appears on the
exquisite and well-known gem, the subject of which is Cupid
issuing from an egg-shell. This name M. Eochette ob-
served to be accompanied by a small sign, that of a cockle,
such as is frequently found among the minor types of the
coinage of Syracuse, from which circumstance M. Hochette
concluded that Phrygillos might be a Syracusan artist.
With this supposition in view, the collections of Syracusan
coins were attentively examined, and the research was re-
warded by the discoVery of the name of Phrygillos on a

coin in the collection of Mr. Stewart, of Naples. This dis-

covery led to that of the names of Kimon, Evainetus,
and others the occurrence of whose names on the Sicilian
coinage is noticed in the chapter on inscriptions. This
discovery of the name of the artists who executed the
beautiful coinage of Greece and her colonies, is one of the
most interesting episodes in the history of art, and to
the perseverance and minute observation of the eminent
numismatist M. B. Eochette we are entirely indebted for
the discovery.


In describing a few of the leading artistic characters or
the Greek coins in the foregoing pages of this chapter, the
autonomous coins, or such as were issued by independent
cities or republican states, have been chiefly alluded to. It
remains now to offer a few remarks on the regal coinages of
Greek origin and character; without doubt executed by
Greek artists, and which were issued by the different
sovereigns of Greek lineage, and some others, who esta-
blished independent kingdoms out of the division of the
Macedonian empire.
The first in rank as in number are those of Alexander the
Great. His father, Philip, placed only simple effigies of the
national divinities upon the public coinage, which may there-
fore rank, as far as art is concerned, with coins of republican
states bearing similar types. But those of Alexander assume
a somewhat different character, and the noble heads exhibited
on his silver coinage belong rather to the class of personal
portraiture. Whether an actual portrait is intended, idealised
beneath the form and attributes of Hercules, or not, matters
little it is sufficient that the features are so marked and
so similar on a vast number of coins struck in widely distinct
places, that they bear a certain character of human por-
traiture never before exhibited on the Greek coinage, which
brings them within the range of that monetary portraiture,
which is the main feature of the regal coinages. The mytho-
logical types by which such heads are generally accompanied
on the reverse, are generally very inferior to those of a
former period. It is evident therefore that the main atten-

tion was paid to the head of the prince, whether symbolised as

a deity, or being an actual portrait. It appears the safer course
to consider that such heads as those with the attributes of
Hercules on the coins of Alexander, those with the symbols
of the horned Bacchus upon the coinage of Lysimachus, and
those with the horns of a bull on those of Seleucus Nicator,
to be rather portrait-symbols than real portraits a view
which is favourable at the same time to the fine idealised
character of art they exhibit especially some of those of

Alexander, which are occasionally of the very highest

character. Many of the coins of Lysimachus are nearly
equally fine but those of Seleucus, which are very scarce,

appear inferior to either of the preceding.*

Immediately following this first period after the death of
Alexander, or in some instances contemporary with it, as in
the case of Ptolemy I. king of Egypt, actual portraits were
placed on the coinage and among these, some of the finest

specimens of monetary portraiture ever produced occur.

Coins of the first Ptolemies several of those of the Seleu-
cidse, down to Alexander Bala of those of the kings ot
Bithynia and Pontus, as late as the time of Mithridates the
Great, and of Macedonia, especially the two last kings of
that state, Philip V. and Perseus exhibit a gallery of
metallic portrait sculpture which places the arts of the
period in the most brilliant point of view. It would be im-
possible to fix a general period for the decline of Grecian
art in the East, as its
aecay was more rapid in some dis-
tricts than others but about a century before the Christian

era may be taken as a general epoch for the commencement

of its gradual decline. After this epoch the coins of such
dynasties as escaped the absorption by the wide-spread
dominion of Borne, gradually sunk into comparative bar-
barism just as the monetary art of Eome began to rise ;

which is evidence that though the thraldom of Eoman

dominion prevented the application of fine art to govern-
mental purposes in the Grecian world, that yet the race of
Greek artists was not extinct, as we find among the greatest
names connected with the development of Eoman art, that
the greater number are Greek.
* See
Chapter on the coins of the Seleucidse, the Lngidse, and the coinage of

In concluding these somewhat desultory remarks on the

art displayed on the Greek coinage, it may be observed that
the time of its greatest perfection occurred probably about
the age of Alexander the Great. The Greek states in Europe
and Asia, at that time, still maintained their autonomous
privileges to a great extent, and art was at its highest pitch
of refinement, especially in those minutiae so applicable to
the types of the coinage while in the Greek cities of Italy

and Sicily, the arts had attained an extraordinary degree of

excellence, the power of Rome being still confined within the
narrow limits of a petty state, and the Greek cities of
southern Italy and Sicily not yet dreaming of the Roman
name which was so soon to absorb, not only the population
of all Italy, but of all the civilised world. The specimens
of Magna-Grsecian coins of the finest period, engraved in
Plate V., probably belong to the period immediately pre-
ceding that in which the lava of Eoman power overflowed
its native crater, and pursued its irresistible course, con-

quering and to conquer, over a great portion of three

quarters of the earth.
One of the principal characteristics of ancient Greek
coins, even of the fine periods, when compared to modern
money, is a certain rudeness of aspect arising from the
irregular form of the coin, which is never perfectly circular,
as the Greek moneyers did not understand the principle of
the collar, by which an accurate circle is obtained in modern
coins. Arising from the same cause, is the frequent accident
by which part of the inscription, or part of the bead border
does not find its place on the coin the perfect placing of

which is rendered inevitable by the aid of modern machinery.

But when from these minor imperfections, partly mechanical,
we turn to a comparison of the art displayed in the types, all
modern coinages sink into insignificance, and the grandeur
and simplicity, often sublimity, of the most ordinary types,
in the hands of a Greek artist, become evident, beyond the
power of the veriest caviller for modern supremacy to
dispute the principal and most striking characteristics of

the ancient examples being their high relief and severe

simplicity of design.



As I have shown in the earlier chapters of this work that, the

Jewish people, though they used the precious metals as a
medium of exchange, had no positive coinage, the pieces
of silver," frequently spoken of, passing by weight and not
by t ale. This state of things, in monetary matters, continued
till the time of the
subjection of the country to the kings of
Syria, of the Seleucidan dynasty, about 3l2 B.C., at which
time Greek currency, established throughout the East since
the Macedonian conquest, circulated also in Judaea, until
the tyranny of Antiochus Epiphanes, in 176 B.C., caused the
revolt of Mattathias, the chief priest when, his son, Judas

Maccabeus, heading the revolt, eventually re-established the

long lost independence of Judaea, and to his successor,
Simon, was conceded by Antiochus, the son of Demetrius,
the right of striking national money.
The money now struck is the earliest money known,
bearing Hebrew inscriptions and types, and the pieces are
the well-known shekels, found in most collections the old
national weight giving its name to the new coin. There
are pieces of one, two, and four silver shekels, bearing differ-
ent types, all relating to the ceremonial of Judaic worship.
The earliest money of Simon Maccabeus was issued about

the year 144 B.C. On the specimen engraved above, the

types are on the obverse the sacred cup of manna, which

Moses was directed to preserve in commemoration of the

food furnished to the Israelites in the wilderness on the

reverse is " the rod of Aaron," on which three flowers are

shown. The most usual inscriptions are bvfUttf bpw (Schekel
Israel), Shekel of Israel : on the reverse, nunp nbum*
(JerousJialem Kedosliati), Jerusalem the Holy others are
marked, half-shekel, &c. Other types have bW ;

1WD ptfDttf
(Scheschimeon MascJii Israel), Simon Prince of Israel; or,
sometimes, such inscriptions as, the first year of the
Deliverance of Israel," or " the Redemption of Sion," &c.
All these inscriptions, expressed in modern Hebrew
characters above, are, on the coin, in the Samaritan character,
as it is termed, that is, the ancient Hebrew as it existed
before the captivity in Babylon, where it was modified by
the introduction of much of the cuneiform style of character
in use in Babylonia, Persia, and Assyria. The modified
form adopted during the captivity, is with but slight variation
that of the Hebrew now in use, from which the characters
on the coins are very distinct. The ancient character, it
appears, was constantly preserved for monumental and sacred
purposes which accounts for its appearance on the national
All the money bearing Hebrew types is either of silver
or copper, no gold having been issued during the short
period of Hebrew monetary existence.
The pieces issued by Simon are generally dated from the
year of independence." as of the first, second, and third
year but none later than the fourth, and these latter are

only of bronze.
The successors of Simon assumed the title of King,
and even "King of Kings," and placed on the- coinage
Greek as well as Hebrew inscriptions. These are poor
copper coins, and very rare. Such are those of Alexander
Jannaeus, and of Antigonus, son of Aristobulus. The
coins of Herod, appointed governor of the country after
its subjection to Home by Pompey, are also confined to
small copper, and have generally Greek inscriptions only,
such as BASIAEHS HPHAOT, " of the King Herod," dated
in the year of his reign, as Lr (the third year). The
types are small and insignificant, and very rarely a por-
trait. The title of Tetrarch appears on those of his-

coins issued before the title ofKing was conceded to him

by the Romans. After Herod, the coins of the Roman
empire circulated almost exclusively in the simple province
of Judaea but some coins appear to have been struck for

especial circulation, as Hebrew types are found on some

small coins bearing the names of Nero, Britannicus, &c.
At the revolt so fearfully subdued by Titus (131 A.D )
every vestige of nationality was swept away from Judeea,
the coins issued by Barchocebas, the leader of the rebel-
lion, being the last bearing any reference to the ancient
Jewish types. These coins bear the same types as those
of the prosperous time of Simon Maccabeus, and are
sometimes mistaken for them by the inexperienced; but
they are easily detected by a numismatist, and are most
frequently found to have their types struck over those of a
Eoman denarius.





IN the early chapters of this volume, we have seen gold
become the first, and for long afterwards, the principal metal
employed in the establishment of a system of coinage in
Asia Minor, while silver assumed its place in European
Greece and her dependencies. We have now to witness the
origin of a great national coinage, not based upon either of
these metals, but upon copper, or rather, it would seem,
on a mixed metal, termed " 2Es," of which the modern word
bronze appears a more satisfactory translation than brass, so
long used to express the metal of the great Sestertian coin-
age of Rome. In treating of the coinages founded on the
relative values of gold and silver, we have seen the drachma
and the obolus become the weights by which the size of the

pieces were regulated but in the less precious copper, we


shall find the litra and the ounce forming the standard

weights, and a coinage of enormous bulk resulting therefrom.

Wehave no records or monuments of a Roman coinage,
long after that of Greece was widely established. The
heads of'Eomulus and of Numa, found upon ancient Roman
coins, belong to a much later period than that of either of
those kings of Rome. Coins bearing those portraits being
money struck by persons claiming descent from those
princes, who were triumviri monetarily or officers of the
mint, towards the end of the republic. But though no
monuments exist of a Roman coinage, as early as the time of
oSTuma, about 715 B.C. there existed, without doubt, an
ancient copper currency at that time, and even earlier, which
however, cannot be considered in the light of a coinage, as it
passed by iceigJit and not by tale. The use of copper for
this purpose appears to have been general throughout Italy
and remote epoch and the unit from which
Sicily at a very ;

all other sums or

weights were calculated was the ^Es libra,
or pound-weight of copper. This weight in Sicily was termed
litra, and by some ancient authorities, the Italians are said to
have derived both the weight and the term from the Sicilians.
Italy, and no doubt Sicily also, received Pho3nician
and Lydian colonies* at a period considerably anterior to
the Grecian emigration, and the degree of civilisation thus
introduced was apparently the means of establishing a
metallic currency in the form of weighed money, the Phoe-
nicians not being then acquainted with the art of coinage in
its perfect form. That copper should have formed the
monetary standard in the Italian peninsula and Sicily, in
preference to the more precious metal, is accounted for by
the rich mines of copper which had been extensively worked
even in Homer's time, who mentions the exportation of
copper from Temesa, in Italy, while rich mines are still in
activity near Castro Giovanni (the ancient Enna), in Sicily.

Etruiia ; the Tuscia or Etruria of the Romans, was the Tyrrhenia ot
the Greek?, and hence ever considered a Lydian colony. Whether it was a
colony founded by Tyre or by the Lydians, it is evident that a knowledge of
metals, and the mode of working them, had been early introduced there from
the East. The Etruscan name of Tarquin, and the chief Etruscan city,
Tarquinii, were by the Greeks called Tvpprivos (TyrrJienos), indicating the
origin of the people from the Tyrrhenian Pelugi of Asia Minor.

The Phoenicians, who traded with the whole of the western

shores of Italy, made the native Pelasgi well acquainted with
the best modes of smelting and amalgamating metals, espe-
cially copper, the most abundantly and widely- distributed
of that class of mineral substances. The mixture of tin
with copper to render it hard enough for coins, armour, and
other purposes, was practised at a very remote period, and
the relative proportions of the amalgam varied but little in
widely-distant countries, or even from those of modern
The Italian workers in copper were highly celebrated,
and the bronze candelabra of Etruscan workmanship were
greatly prized, even at Athens.
Italy, like Greece, was originally peopled by the widely-
spread Pelasgic race, and the affinity of the languages is
shown by examples on early Greek coins.
The celebrity of the Pelasgi as smiths and miners is often
referred to by ancient authors, and even mixed up with
the earliest Greek mythologies, where they figure as the
one-eyed Cyclops, that is, miners who penetrate into the
depths of the earth the lamp, by the light of which they

prosecuted their subterranean labours, being fixed to their

foreheads the Cyclopean eye.
The mineral wealth which these Pelasgi thus produced,
was prepared for barter in wedges, or ingots, of one
pound in weight, or a multiple of that weight and so ;

originated the copper coinage of Home, where the public

treasury always bore the name of ^Erarium, or depot for
bronze, which represented, in fact, the public wealth. This
treasure, after the expulsion of the kings, was deposited in
the Temple of Saturn, and remained so, after the mint was
established in that of Juno Moneta.* During the epoch of
the semi-fabulous Numa, several internal regulations, both
social and legal, appear to have taken place, owing to which
it is possible that improvements relative to the exchange of

property by means of a copper medium, may have taken

place, which afterwards gave rise to the fable that Numa
was the inventor of money.

Or rather the depository of the standard weights connected with the


In the reign of Servius Tullius, 578 B.C., when the early
history of Eome begins to disentangle itself from the mythic
character of the earlier period, we find positive allusions to
the "as," or pound weight of copper, as a general measure
of value. In the new constitution of Tullius, the different
classes into which he divided the citizens were distinguished
according to the number of ases of copper they possessed.
The wealth required from each class respectively, was, accord-
ing to Bockh's conjecture 20,000 for the first class, 15,000
for the second, 10,000 for the third, 5000 for the fourth, and
2000 for the fifth, which, however, are rated by authors of the
sixth century of the foundation of the city at a much higher
" "
number, a mistake arising from the as being no longer, in
their time, a pound in weight, though it still went by the same
name, and represented the same nominal value. Servius
Tullius is said by Pliny to have been the first who caused
these ingots of copper to be stamped wit]i the image of an
ox, a sheep, and other domestic animals, possibly as indicating
the species of barter which their use facilitated.
These ingots were at first of an oblong square form, and
several of them have been discovered in modern times
stamped with the images of various animals, as described by
Pliny, and carefully preserved in different national collec-
tions, where they are, however, among the rarest specimens
of ancient money, the British museum not possessing a
single specimen. The images on all those yet discovered, it
must be observed, are of a much later style of art than can
be attributed to the age of Servius Tullius, and must there-
fore be regarded as much more recent examples, though
still of the same
design, form, and weight. The Due de
Luynes, however, describes one which he saw in Italy,
which he pronounces to be of archaic treatment in the type,
and which may possibly be of the age of Tullius. From
these pieces of copper bearing the images of different
domestic animals, Pliny derives the Latin term pecunia,
"money;" from pecu, "cattle;" and our own monetary
terms, "pecuniary," &c., are apparently derived through

the Koman from the same ancient 'source. But these

pieces of copper were not yet money in the sense of coined
money, which passes by tale and not by weight for it appears

that when payments of so many ases of copper were made, the

total sum was ascertained by weighing, and not by counting ;

and even as late as 40 B.C., Varro describes an ancient pair of

scales formerly used for the purpose, as still preserved in the
temple of Saturn. Pines were still weighed, according to ancient
custom, up to a very late period of the republic, or even the
beginning of the empire and the legal term pcena-s pendere

that is, to weigh the fine was preserved, like many of our
own law terms, long after the real meaning had ceased to
exist. Such terms as dispendious, &c., are derived from
this ancient Roman custom.
The pieces called the Ms
libra, or pound of bronze,
were also termed stips^-a term probably belonging to
them previous to the period at which they received the
images of various descriptions of cattle, &c., and when they
were mere blank ingots from which the terms stipend, sti-

pendiary, &c., are derived. They were also termed Ms rude,

vEs grave, raudus, radusculus, &c.
The square pieces with the effigies of cattle, &c., upon them
were cast, and not hammered like the money of the Greeks.
They are of the form of small flat bricks, but of course
varying in size according to the weight pieces being cast of

one, two, four, five and ten ases, termed As dupondius, quad-
russis, quincussis, and decussis, and generally marked with
numerals, denoting their weight, as I., II., III., IV., V.,
and X., but in some cases they are without this distinc-
tion. Pieces are mentioned by ancient authors of the great
weight of one hundred ases. The term as and pound
were synonymous and convertible terms. M. Le Normand,
the most recent authority upon the subject, considers that
these square pieces should be regarded in the light of simple
ingots, bearing a national symbol or seal, as a guarantee of
their weight, and considered that the square form was
continued in the larger pieces, even after the issue of the
circular as," for the convenience of stowage in the national
JErarium for it would seem that bronze armour and other

spoils of war of this metal, were invariably cast into ingots

of this form, on their transport to Rome. At the triumph

of S. Papirius Cursor over the Samnites, 295 B.C., 233,000

pounds of bronze were brought to Rome, and only 1330
pounds of silver, though the Samnites were then a richer
and more luxurious people than the Romans. Some of the
square pieces above referred to as still in existence, are
supposed to be part of the bronze thus conquered from the
Samnites, from the circumstance of the type which they
bear, consisting of two fowls feeding.* It is well known than
the Pullarii, keepers of the sacred fowls, having on that day
declared the augury unfavourable, the Consul exclaimed
after the death of the augur in the beginning of the engage-
ment " The gods are now with us ;" and by this well-timed
application of the augury, turned the tide of victory in
favour of the Romans. The type on the piece engraved
below, from the collection of Carelli, no doubt refers to

A Roman As, in the Primitive Square Form.

this event. This piece is

probably a single "as," but a largei
piece which I have seen, and which has two fowls feeding
opposite to each other, is a quadrussis, or piece of four ases,

* The smaller
pieces have only one fowl,
The ve woodcutis
slightly reduced in size from the original.

The ox on this primitive Roman money, may perhaps

denote the Tiber as, on the Greek coinage, from the earliest

period, a river was frequently symbolised

under the form of
a bull,* as in the contest between Hercules and Achelous,
when the latter assumed the form of a bull. (Ovid's Meta-
morphoses.) The large square piece with an ox, formerly
in the Pembroke collection, weighs 4 pounds 9 oz. 11 dwts.
and 38 grains, and is most likely a quincussis but the one ;

bearing the image of a sow, in the Carelli collection, is of

somewhat less dimension, and is probably a quadrussis, or
piece of four ases.
Independent of symbolising the more ancient and direct
mode of barter, animals selected as types for this great
bronze currency had perhaps a deeper mythic meaning.
A swine was a sacred animal among the Samnite and Latin
races and oaths were made, and treaties sworn to, over one

of these animals, as will be found recorded on coins to be

described hereafter. A
sow was seen by ^Eneas on the spot
where Borne afterwards arose, which brought forth thirty
young these are the thirty Curise into which Romulus

divided his people, each of which subdivided by ten formed the

300 Houses or gentes. The reverse of this quadrussis bears the
image of an elephant, which may possibly denote that it was
coined from bronze, captured in the war with Pyrrhus. The
Asiatic conquests of Alexander had led to the knowledge of
the use of the elephant in war, and its introduction into
Europe. Pyrrhus, in his invasion of Italy, carried some of
these animals with him, where they were seen for the first
time, creating much terror among the Roman troops.
A square piece, probably a quadrussis, engraved by
Carelli, has on the one side a rude but grandly designed
sword, of the short broad form peculiar to the Romans on ;

the reverse is the scabbard. This represents, perhaps, the

double aspect of Mars, in peace and war, with the same
duality of feeling which suggested the two-faced Janus, to
be spoken of hereafter. Mamers, or Mars, or Mors, the
arbiter of life and death, was also the god of the Samnites,
and generally worshipped in the form of a spear or a lancet

* See coins of
Gelas, chapter on Greek Art of the Finest Period,
t The name of the Samnite tribes, implies " men of the javelin

(queir) from which name Romulus, as the reputed son ol


Mars, received his surname Quirinus. The sword as it

superseded the earlier javelin in warfare, may have become
the emblem of Mars with the early Eomans, in preference
to the lance.
It has been said, that the ases bearing different domestic
animals, &c., for their types, are in general not Roman,
but of the neighbouring Italian states. This remark, how-
ever, does not apply to the square pieces, to which, no
doubt, Pliny alluded in stating that Servius Tullius was
the first who caused them to be so marked, and which,
there is good reason to believe, are nearly all Roman.
Those square monetary ingots that have come down to us
are of comparatively late workmanship,* though no doubt
considerably earlier than the earliest of the circular form, as
some of them are nearly of the full weight of the pound to the
"as," while none of the pieces of circular form are above nine-
and-a-half ounces. They also appear to be the work of
Greek artists, who were no doubt employed by the Romans
to execute the models, from which moulds were made for
casting them. This employment of Greek artists probably
took place at the time the Roman power began to extend
in the direction of Campania, and to absorb many Greek
settlements of minor importance. Such pieces, however, are
in all
probability copies of more ancient ones, merely
improved in artistic treatment. They continued to be made
in the square form, as above stated, after the issue of the.
circular "as."


In its circular form the "as " or pound weight of bronze
became a true coin, and no doubt passed by tale, as well as
by weight, if not exclusively by tale. At this period, when
the circular, or true coin form, was first adopted, which
M. Le Normand estimates to be about 385 B.C., the weight
of copper given to each was reduced from one
pound to nine-
and-a-half ounces, and this reduction may have taken place
in consequence of the
impoverished state of the finances,
* Due dc Luynes,
Except, perhaps, the piece seen by the described at prge 253.

which must have followed the taking of Borne by the Gauls

immediately previous to this period.
It has been thought by earlier writers that the Romans
imported the forms and weight of this grand uncial coinage
from the Etrurians but evidence of the most unimpeachable

character in favour of its being of Roman origin.


Pliny states that in the time of the first Punic war, 264
B.C., in order to meet -the extraordinary demand on the
finances of the state, the "as" was reduced from one
pound to two ounces and in the second Punic war, in the

dictatorship of Q. Fabius Maximus, ases of one ounce were

made and the recently-introduced silver coin, the denarius,

was decreed to be worth sixteen ases, instead of ten, its

original value. Other ancient authorities prove that suc-
cessive diminutions took place in the weight of the "as;" but
it isnot necessary to believe that one so great and so sud-
den as that described by Pliny took place at once. That
the " as was coined of two ounces only in the first Punic
war is no doubt true but that it had been gradually reduced

previously, from its original weight there can be no doubt,

especially as the oldest of the circular form with which we
are acquainted only weigh nine-and-a-half ounces aud sub- ;

sequent diminutions to a great extent must have taken place

previous to the one mentioned by Pliny, in order to bring
the copper medium into relation with the silver of the
Greek states, as they became more and more intimately
connected with Rome. But these facts have only been
brought forward here to show that the greater weight is a
sure test of the greater age in coins of this class. Taking
this, then, as the mode of estimating the relative antiquity
of this great bronze coinage of the states of central Italy, we
shall find that the earliest known coins are undoubtedly
Roman those with the Roman types of Janus and the prow
of a ship, alone weighing nine and a half ounces. The next
heaviest are those of Tuder, weighing eight ounces the next ;

are those of Volterra, weighing about seven and a-half

ounces then come those of the Umbrian city of Iguvium,

weighing seven ounces.'* Hence it appears clear that the

* The only exception to this theory of weights is found in the ases of
ITatria,which weigh nearly a full pound. But the modern character of the
Latin letters show them to be more recent than any of the above.

Eomans originated the grand copper coinage under descrip-

tion, and that it was only introduced in the
neighbouring states
as they successively became subject to Rome, or strongly in-
fluenced by her institutions. Thus at Tuder it would seem
to have been introduced at the time when the weight had
fallen at Eome to eight ounces at Volterra, the only

Etruscan town to which ases have been yet assigned, when

the weight at Eome had fallen to seven-and-a-half ounces ;

and in the same way in other states.

At the time the circular form was adopted, the ancient
types of animals appear to have been superseded by those
of deities, a course somewhat analogous to that which took
place in Greek types.* The head of the bifrontal Janus, or
Saturn, as some deem it, was adopted at this period as the
principal type of the "as," perhaps in reference to the fabled
inventor of money, Saturn, or to the temple of Saturn in which
the public treasure was deposited. The two-faced Janus is
often considered by others to be the same with Saturn, or
Time, who is supposed to be represented with two fronts, as
looking back into the past, and forward into the future.
The ship which was at the same time adopted as the
reverse of the chief piece of the uncial f coinage is also
supposed to refer to the landing of Saturn in. Italy, thus
alluded to by Ovid

"At bona posteritaspuppim signavit in sere

Hospitis adventum testificata del." Fusti, lib. i.

The numeral I. on the reverse denotes the unit one " as :" ;

the globules or dots on the smaller pieces denote its sub-

division in ounces.
The plebeian of the Eoman streets appears to have used
these copper pieces for gambling purposes, by " tossing-up"
just as at the present day and the young Eoman, as Macro-
bius informs us, cried out " Capita^, aut Naming (heads or
ship,) long after the heads and ship had disappeared from the
Eoman coinage.
The coin engraved "
in Plate VII. is a circular as" of the
oldest form that has come down to us, weighing above nine-

* See
Chapter on Greek types.
f Uncial as being calculated by ounces.

J In the plural, on account of the tM'o faces of Jaiius.


and-a-half ounces, and is drawn from a specimen in the

British Museum.
The Semis, Semisis, or Semi-as, has an S upon it to denote its
weight, as half that of the as;" it represented six ounces, and
the type most usual in the Roman series is the head of Jupiter.

The Semis when the weight was much reduced.

The Triens, or third of the "as," represented four ounces,

and is distinguished by four globules or dots to denote the four
ounces the type is generally the head of Minerva.
The Quadrans, or fourth, represented three ounces, and has
three dots or globules, and generally the head of Hercules
for type.
The Sextans, or sixth, represented two ounces, and has
generally the head of Mercury for type and two globules.
The Uhcia, or ounce, was the twelfth part, and has
generally one dot or globule, and the head of Minerva.
The uncia here engraved is of the same period as that 01

Uncia, with Minerva.

the as" of nine-and-a-half ounces there are several of them


in the British Museum, and twelve of them are found to

weigh about one of the larger piece.

There was also the semi-uncia, or half-ounce, which with the

whole of the series has most commonly the prow of a ship for
the reverse.
The divisions of the "as" were also named after the number
of ounces they contained as deunx, dextans, dodrans, bes,
or bessis septunx, sescunx or sectans, quincunx, and
teruncius. Of the dodrans or nine-ounce piece, only one
example is known struck by the Cassian family, bearing
an S, signifying the half "as," or six ounces, with three
dots or globules in addition.
The "as" in its square and circular form appears to have
been invariably cast, as also the smaller pieces, its fractional
parts. The style of art when critically examined proves that
these pieces are not of the high antiquity once assigned to
them the rudeness being rather that of accomplished artists,
working in a bold sketchy manner, than the archaic rudeness
inseparable from art in its early stages. The as of nine-and-
a-half ounces, engraved in Plate VII., is nearly three-fourths
of an inch in thickness in the thickest part. The fabrication
of these pieces, as before stated, may therefore be assigned
to Greek artists employed by the Romans, whose backward-
ness in the adoption of a finished manufacture of their
money appears extraordinary, when we consider the close
proximity of the Greek cities of Campania, where coined
money of beautiful execution had been in circulation for
more than two centuries, at the time when the Romans first
adopted the circular form for their rude and unwieldy copper
It has been conjectured that this backwardness was more
the result of intention than of chance, or the absence of
sufficient ability to imitate and that the warlike rudeness of

the Oscan, Samnite, and Latin tribes disdained to imitate or

adopt the refinements of their neighbours of the Grecian
It appears, also, that although these warlike and semi-
barbarous states disdained to coin elegant money for them-
selves, they allowed the money of their neighbours to
circulate in their states, which is proved by several well-
known passages in Roman authors.
Some of the pieces larger than the " as," after the circular
form was adopted, are of the diameter of four inches and

five-eighths, and thick in proportion. These extraordinary

dimensions give to these immense coins an appearance of
great grandeur, though the execution is often very poor.
They are the pieces called decusses, denoted by an X, of the
value of ten ases, but are generally of a later period than the
as," and must have been struck when the "as" was reduced
to about four ounces as the heaviest weigh little more than
thirty-nine ounces. Some of these gigantic coins have the
head of Roma one side, behind which is the numeral X, and
on the reverse the prow of a ship others have a Victory

driving a biga, and beneath, the word ROMA, with the same
reverse as the former the numeral
frequently occurs
on both sides in these large pieces.
A decussis of the same type as the first-named is figured
by Carelli, which is only three inches and three-eighths in dia-
meter, and which is therefore (in rough approximation) nearly
one-fourth lighter than the above-named specimens, and
must have been coined when the " as " was reduced to about
" "
three ounces. It is probable even when the circular as
was at the highest weight of which we have any specimens,
namely, about nine-and-a-half ounces, that the 'decussis may
have been struck and if so, unless of very much thicker pro-

portion, it must have formed a coin of above nine inches

superficial diameter. After briefly alluding to the coinage
of the " as in other Italian states, I shall describe its gradual
reduction to the period when 'it became virtually superseded
by the issue of the bronze Sestertius.


Many of these interesting coins have been engraved in the

work of Marchi and Tessieri, and in that of Carelli the finest

collection being that of the Kircherian Museum at Rome.


Ases bearing the type of the wheel, are attributed to this
people, and supposed to have been adopted as & speaking type*

* It
appears probable, that speaking types, as mere puns, were used on
Italian coinages
; though I am inclined to thiuk not on those of Greece. See
Greek types.

the name of the city, written in the native character,

or RYTVN, probably signifying a wheel, which its resemblance
to the Latin rota renders probable.


The money of Tuder has the name in full
series of uncial
in native Oscan or Etruscan characters on the "as," semis,
sextans, and triens, and abbreviated on the quadrans and
unsia, The heaviest "as of the Tuder series, exceeds that of
any other state except Borne, but it never exceeds eight
ounces, and it would therefore appear that the uncial coinage
was not introduced there till the " as " had fallen from twelve
to eight ounces at Rome. The types of this series are, the
eagle; reverse, cornucopia, for the "as;" the lyre; reverse,
sleeping dog, for the semis.


These coins have the name of the city in Oscan characters,
as IKYLINI. The greatest weight of the "as" in this series is
seven ounces. The type of the larger pieces of Igiivium is
the sun, represented by a ball surrounded with detached
rays, and the crescent moon and stars on the reverse. The
types of the smaller pieces are very various, such as pincers,
or some other tool connected with the operations of coins ;

or, a bunch of grapes, &c.


The "as" of this series weighs above seven ounces, and all
the pieces have for type a bifrontal head, wearing a conical
cap, and on the reverse, a club. Many of these series of
ases of the Italic cities may be classed into sets agreeing
with different standards of weight, as gradually reduced.
The heaviest set of Yolterra is the one mentioned. The
lighter sets have different types, in each successive dimi-
nution of weight, which seems always to have led to the
adoption of fresh types.
Some of this uncial money of Yolterra has the type of the
wheel on one side, which is considered to intimate an alliance
with Aretinum, the metropolis of which was Krutun. While
" "

those with a vase on one side, are supposed by the PP. Marchi
and Tessieri to belong to the secondary city of that
state, Aretinum, famous for its manufacture of pottery.


The series of ases of this place, the modern Rimini, is very
interesting. The period of its issue, judging from the
weight, accords with that of its occupation by the Gauls,
who, it would appear, struck money of this class in imitation
of the Romans. The type is a head, apparently a portrait ;
as the hair worn in the manner of the barbarians the ;

face being unshaven on the upper lip only; and round

the neck is a torque or necklace. If this be a portrait, it
is the earliest
example of the kind in Italic money, as that
of Julius Caesar was not placed upon the Roman coinage till
more than two centuries later. The uncial money of Rimini
would appear to have been issued about 295 B.C., at the
period of the alliance of the Gauls of Rimini with the
Etruscans. This Gallic state was destroyed by the Romans
at the battle of Sentinum.


The ancient city of Hatria, situate on the eastern coast,
was, in the earliest period of Italic history, of so much com-
mercial importance, that it gave its name to the Adriatic
Sea, as the Sea of Hatria. The uncial money of this place
about the period of which we are treating, forms an exception
to the general rule, that money of this class is lighter in
every other Italian state than the Roman, and consequently
more recent. The "as " of Hatria being, on the contrary,
heavier being frequently found of the full pound weight
; ;

hence, judging from weight alone, the "as" of Hatria, of

the circular class,* would appear older than the Roman,
the greatest known weight of which is about nine-and-a
half ounces but the comparatively modern form of the

Latin characters of the inscription, HAT, combined with

the style of art, seem to prove that these coins are even

* No square are known.


more recent, not only than the Roman, but than most of
the other series of the " as." The discrepancy in the weight
is a difficulty not yet satisfactorily explained, but the
daily accumulating knowledge in numismatic science must
soon afford some satisfactory explanation of this apparent
Many Italic coins of this class, bear for types various
domestic animals, such as the boar or sow, the ram, the
bull, &c., which have not yet been attributed with certainty
to any particular state or city, but they all belong to that
class of money, which, doubtless, Pliny had in view when
he stated that such types were first placed on the great
uncial money by Servius Tullius, and were the origin of the
term pecunia.


It has been shown in the foregoing pages that the " as
was continuously sustaining a gradual decrease of weight,
and a decussis has been referred to, showing the "as" to
have been at that epoch only four ounces. By the statement
" "
of Pliny we learn that the as was reduced to two ounces
in the first Punic war, which ,js no doubt a statement made
on good authority; but it is coupled with the notion that
that reduction took place all at once from the full weight,
whilst the evidence of existing monuments proves the
reduction to have been gradual, though a very considerable
reduction no doubt took place under great financial pressure
at the time mentioned.
The better ascertained value of silver was, however, one
of the principal causes of the reduction in the weight
of the "as." "When silver was first introduced, the
drachma was of the nominal value of ten ases, or 120
ounces of copper; but as the "as at that period may not
have exceeded six ounces in weight, it would only be
really of the value of sixteen ounces ;
but at the time
of the Punic war, when silver was more abundant,
and its relative value to copper reduced in proportion to its
increased abundance, the "as was reduced to two ounces,
giving only twenty-four ounces of copper to the denarius,
-a name at first
given to a foreign silver piece which passed

for ten Eoman ases. The reduction of the "as" conti-

nued, till from being originally a pound weight, of twelve
ounces, it fell to one-fourth, and even one-fifth of an ounce,
as proved by coins of this decreased dimension struck by the
Tereiitian family.
Its reduction was so great at last, that sixteen were
made to pass for the silver denarius, which was, how-
ever, partly on account of the establishment of the sester-
tius, to be explained under that head. The "as" struck
by the sons of Pompey weighs somewhat less than an
ounce, and is about the size of its eventual successor, the
sestertius, or well-known Eoman first brass, as it is techni-
cally termed.
About the time of Augustus, when it disappears in its
true character, the weight was at its greatest degree of dimi-
nution. After this period the " as" was represented by the
second brass, and third brass, as they are termed; they were
called the dupondius, or double as," and the assarius, an
ancient name of the "as," now used as a diminutive. The
sestertius was originally two and a-half ases, but it was
also one-fourth of the denarius, so that when the denarius
was declared of the value of sixteen ases, it became
virtually four ases, and the dupondius and assarius were
its half and quarter.
The last mentioned coin, the assarius, or diminished " as,"
was the last coin struck by the last Eoman emperors of the
"West, so that the primitive Eoman coin was also the latest
struck by the decrepit empire larger bronze, silver, and

gold having disappeared successively, till the wretched

representation of the diminished "as," in rude though very
minute form, was the only Eoman coin minted, the "as"
being thus the last, as well as the first money of the mint of
Eome. It only remains in this short summary of the
progress and decline of the great uncial copper coinage of
Italy to notice the coinage of the "as" and its parts by the
Greek cities of Southern Italy, when they became tributary
to Eome. They appear to have abandoned the coinage of
gold and silver after the loss of their independence, and to
have only minted copper after the Eoman standard of the
as" and its uncial divisions. Coins of this class issued
by different Greek cities, are much more refined in design

and execution than the Roman, though they do not exhibit

the high relief and fine qualities of the times of Greek
independence. They are marked with the Roman globules
to denote the number of ounces, as in the actual Roman
series, and those of the Italian states. Some of those of
four ounces have a quadriga or four-horse chariot on the
reverse, with the addition of the four globules and those of

two ounces, a biga, or two-horse chariot, with only two

globules a similar arrangement of types to that adopted in
the copper coinage of Sicily under the last princes, Hiero
and Hieronimus. But this is by no means general, the
types of this class of Greco-Italian copper being very
various, but always having the globules denoting the
The coin engraved below will convey a good idea of their
general style. The characters are Oscan, and it is gene-
rally attributed to Capua. It is, as the globules denote, a
third of an " as," and consequently of a period when the full
"as must have been of considerable size, little inferior to the
one engraved on a previous page.
The student becoming first acquainted with this class of
coin from the plates in the great work of Carelli, would
imagine them very fine and remarkable monuments but ;

the coins themselves are very generally of such poor relief

A quadrans of Capua.

and such spiritless execution, that great disappointment is

experienced in their actual examination, notwithstanding
the elegance with which their types are designed.
The next specimen is a quadrans of Luceria, of a somewhat

later period. A remarkable coin of the same denomination,

is generally attributed to Atella, but it has the inscription

A quadrans of Luceria.

KOMA, accompanying a very beautifully designed reverse

representing Hercules slaying the Centaur. I may also
mention that the full "as," of considerable weight, at least four
ounces, is found among the late copper of the Magna-
Grrecia cities, with the early Roman types, Janus and the
prow of a vessel, but executed in a more finished style, and
in much lower relief than the Eoman cast pieces.






PLINY informs us that the first Eoman silver was coined five
years before the first Punic war, in the year 269 B.C. Long
prior to this period, however, Greek silver had circulated
freely at Borne, and in the other native Italic states ;
it was not till after the defeat of the Grecian colonies and

their ally, that theEomans condescended to imitate

the silver coinage of the now tributary cities. Posidonia was
colonised by the Eomans in 273 B.C. The rich and powerful
Tarentum submitted in 272 B.C., and the consequent influx
)f silver to Eome was so great, that a national coinage of
it metal was at last determined on. But even then it
appears to have been considered secondary to the great
national coinage of copper, which to the end of the Empire
remained in charge of the ancient senate, while the coinages
of silver and gold were considered prerogatives of the
The denarius was coined of the weight of the Greek
drachma, which had long previously passed current at Eome
as foreign coin. It is lighter than the Attic drachma of the
most flourishing period of Athens, which has led some to
consider it as a perfectly distinct standard but the simple

fact appears to be, that the Greek drachma had become

slightly depreciated at the time it was adopted by the
Eomans, who took the drachma for their first silver

coinage, at the weight at which they found it circulating at

that period and then it was depreciated in value about five

farthings from the Solonian Attic standard, which corre-

sponded to nearly ninepence three farthings of our money,
while the Roman denarius was equal, at its fullest weight,
to about eightpence-halfpenny.
The term " denarius (den- sens) denotes the value of
the new silver piece as being that of ten bronze ases, and
the numeral X
behind the head of Pallas or Roma, also
denotes this value.
The first denarii minted at Rome I believe to be those
with the head of Pallas or Roma and the numeral X, and
on the reverse the Dioscuri galloping, and beneath these the
word ROMA, without any other name those bearing the

names of successive officers of the mint, or other Roman

personages, belong to a later period. Those of the above-
described types are the most rare, and still more so are
the quinarius, or half-denarius, and the sestertius, or quarter-
denarius, of the same types. The quinarius has the nume-
rical Vas being of the value of five ases, and the sestertius,
S. II. The term ".sestertius" is an abbreviation of "semis-
tertius," a Roman method of expressing two and a-half ;

" "
meaning two, and half of the third the numerals II are

two, and the "S," semis, or half.

Yarro mentions still smaller sub-divisions of the denarius ;

the half the sestertius the sembella, half the libella

libella, ; ;

and the teruncius, half the sembella the teruncius being

little more than a grain and a half in weight. In the time
of Cicero the libella appears to have been the smallest silver
coin in circulation. Some have doubted the existence of
these smaller coins altogether, and supposed them to be
either copper portions of the denarius, or merely terms
for account in reckoning minute proportional payments.
Grronovius asserts that when Varro wrote there was no such
coin as the libella, but that the word signified the tenth
part of a denarius. It is most probable, however, that
minute silver portions of the denarius were at first coined,
though no pieces have come down to us smaller than the
silver sestertius. The engraving in Plate VII. will convey a
correct idea of the types and size of the denarius, and the
following woodcuts, of those of the quinarius, and silver

sestertius. The reverses of the two latter are not given,

being, if of the earliest period, of the same types as the

Roman quinarius. Roman silver sestertius.

The later variations in the types of the denarius will be

found described under the head of " Consular, or family



Among the silver coins that circulated at Rome, previous

to the native coinage of silver, were those called, from the
figure of Victory which they bore for type on the reverse,
Victoriati, as described by Pliny. These coins are stated to
have been imported from Illyria as an article of commerce,
until, in pursuance of the lex Clodia, they were coined at
Some, of the same type but this was not till ninety-two

years after the first coinage of silver.* Coins appearing to

belong to this class have the Victory on one side, with the
inscription "Romano," an abbreviation of Romanorum, "of
f he
Romans," after the Greek manner; and on the other
side a finely-executed head in a Phrygian
cap, supposed to allude to the Asiatic origin
of Rome through JEneas. "Whether im-
ported from Illyria or elsewhere, these coins
are evidently of Greek workmanship, and the
inscription shows that they were not merely
pieces taken in exchange in commercial
transactions, but coined on purpose for Ro- Reverse of a quina-

ius ' v
man circulation. The engraving represents gSJi.*
the reverse of one of these pieces. I have
seen coins of the same type of very inferior execution which
are probably those executed at Rome under the Clodian law.

* 269 B. c.

Of known to be coined at various Greek

the silver coins
cities in Southern Italy, with Roman inscriptions, those
attributed to Capua, Teanum, Sidicinura, and Atella, are
best known. Some of these have the head of Jupiter, as
chief type, and some the well-known treaty type of this
class of coins, representing two or more warriors taking
the oath over a swine.* But those mentioned by Pliny
and other ancient authors are such as have the bifrontal
head, apparently of Apollo, on the obverse, and a qua-
driga, or biga, for the reverse; from which they were
termed bigati and quadrigati. They are generally con-
sidered to have been coined at Capua, after the establishment
of a Roman Praetor in that Greek city, in the year 317 B.C.
The larger pieces with the quadriga appear to be tridrachms,
or pieces of three drachms. The piece engraved below is a

A tridrachm, termed a Quadrigatus.

There are other types of silver coin evidently coined by

subjected Greeks, either for the Romans, or under Roman
influence. Among them are those with the Carthaginian
types of the horse's head and the galloping horse the former
with ROMANO, and the latter with ROMA. The coins are
very beautifully executed, and the types would lead to the
belief that they were coined in Sicily, perhaps during the
contest with Hannibal in that island, when the placing of
the name of Rome, or the Romans, on the national types
of the Carthaginian coinage, would be likely to have
taken place as an assumption of Roman conquest over
the finest of Carthaginian colonies of the Punic portion
of Sicily, or perhaps immediately after the subjugation

* See first gold.


subjection of the whole island to the E-oman power, which

shortly followed.*
There are, as I have said, other silver coins of about this
epoch evidently struck out of Borne, as the privilege of
coining their own money, but with Romanised types or
inscriptions, was granted to a few of the Greek cities in Italy
and Sicily, as afterwards in Greece and in Asia, which in the
latter cases continued till a late period of the Empire, though
in Italy, Sicily, and Spain this privilege was withdrawn after
the reigns of the first emperors, and in Italy and Sicily as
soon as the whole of the Italians were declared Roman
citizens, which took place about 89 B.C.


The first gold coined by the Romans themselves is said by
Pliny to have been issued sixty-two years after the silver
coinage, in the year 207 B.C. Whether he alludes to the scru-
pular coinage, or to the earliest specimens of the aureus, with
the head of Pallas, or Roma, is doubtful but as the scrupular;

coinage appears the more ancient, it will be well to describe

it first.
The scrupular coinage, as it is termed, bears for types the
head of Mars on the obverse, accompanied with numerals,
denoting the value, and on the reverse, an eagle with BOMA.
This coinage appears evidently the work of Greek artists, and
was probably executed at Capua, in Sicily, or at Tarentum, as
the eagle strongly resembles in style of treatment, the same
type on the Tarentine gold. This gold issue, wherever
fabricated, was evidently made for Koman circulation, as its
value is computed upon that of the sestertius, which appears
to have thus early become very generally the unit of
monetary calculation, to the partial exclusion of the "as."
The smallest of these gold coins, the scrupulum^ is of the
value of twenty sestertii, and having the numerals behind XX
the head of Mars. The next, the double scrupulum, is
marked XXXX, and the third, (60). An engraving of a
treble scrupulum, or gold piece of sixty sestertii, will be
found on the following page.
About 215 B. c.

f The origin of the term is not satisfactorily explained.


The next Roman gold in chronological order, is that with

the alliance type, and is probably of very nearly the same
period as the scrupular coinage, as it is, like that, calculated
upon the basis of the sestertius, as the unit. The alliance
type of this peculiar coinage represents two figures in the
act of taking the oath over a swine held by a third figure.*
One of the figures is evidently Roman, while the other
appears to be Greek the only inscription being the word

ROMA the compact apparent]y represented, is the conven-


tion entered into between Rome and Capua, previous to the

general subjection of the Greek cities of southern Italy. The
obverse of the coin is occupied by a fine bifrontal head of
Apollo, seemingly executed by the same artist, as a similar
type on the silver tridrachm described at page 269. These
types are found executed in two distinct styles, one fine and
sharp, but of little elevation from the surface; the other bolder,
but more rude. The former were probably the work of Greek
artists of Capua or Cuma, the latter a native Roman imitation.
There are two sizes of the gold pieces of these types, the
larger weighing 105 -^ grains, which must be considered
of the value of 120 sesterces. The smaller of 52 T7^
grains, which appear to be of the value of sixty sesterces.
These pieces, as well as those of the scrupular coinage, are
among the greatest rarities of Roman republican gold. The
engraving below represents reverse of one of the large pieces,
of the value of 120 sesterces.

Roman gold struck Specimen of the Scrupular

at Capua. coinage.

The true Roman aureus appears next in chronological

order, and is probably the gold alluded to by Pliny, when he
stated that a Roman gold coinage was not issued till sixty-
two years after the silver. This coinage was the foundation
* See Roman types.

of the Roman gold, which lasted till the age of Coi&tantine,

and was continued by the eastern emperors, under whom it
circulated throughout Europe, when, in the dark ages, no
other gold coins were known the pieces being known as

Byzants, that is, money of Byzantium, the old name being

still preferred to the more modern one of
The earliest specimens of the Roman aureus were, after
the Greek manner,* made of double the weight of the silver
unit, and of the value of twenty so that the aureus

weighed the weight of two denarii, and was of the value of

Among the great variety of types of Eoman republican
gold, the student may at first find some difficulty in settling
which types belong to the earliest period. But I believe
the same criterion which I have mentioned as governing the
chronology of the first silver, may also be applied to the
gold, that is to say, those with the simple head of Pallas
or Roma, without decoration, in the style of the earliest
denarii, and with no inscription but the word Roma, are
the earliest.
The aureus was at first said to be coined at the rate of
forty to the pound weight of gold, which would give to each
piece near 130 grains but I have found none of early

character, with the exception of the extra weighted coinage

of Sulla, ranging beyond 124 grains, nor falling below 117,
which brings the weight nearer to that of two denarii than
the stated weight of forty to the pound. This rate, how-
ever, was gradually reduced, and in the reign of Nero forty-
five aurei were coined out of the pound weight of gold

giving only 106 grains to each piece the denarius having

declined in relative proportion.
The simplicity of the early gold types soon became more
complicated the name of the officer of the mint for the
time being was added to the simple inscription EOMA
and the national type of the Dioscuri on the reverse eventually
also gave way to some type connected with the family of the

moneyer, while the old and somewhat rude style of the head
of Pallas or Roma was succeeded by a more decorative

* See
weight and values of Greek coins.
f This coinage was therefore not calculated on the sestertius hut on the as.

manner of treatment, as will be seen by comparing that on

a gold coin of Sulla, engraved below, and the heads on an
earlier Quinarius and Sestertius in a pre-
vious page of this chapter, (p. 271.)
The reverse apparently represents the dic-
tator Sulla, in a triumphal car ; but such a
representation can hardly be considered a
portrait, and therefore does not interfere
with the assertion of numismatists, that the
portrait of Julius Caesar was the first ever
placed upon the coinage of Eome.
The Lucullian gold was money coined by Lucullus, under
the direction of Sulla, of more than one-fourth extra weight,
with which his soldiery were paid, and which is sufficient
to account for the devotion of the army to the tyrant some

of these aurei are said to weigh 202 grains, but I have

seen none heavier than 167 l-10th grains the one engraved

above being 166 l-10th grains. Of the further development

of the Eoman Eepublican gold I shall speak in the article
on the " family" or " consular" coinage.


"When Home had at length brought all the Italian states

and cities, whether Greek or native, under the domination
of her power, and began to extend her pretensions far
beyond those limits, even beyond those of Europe, and to
establish her sway in Asia, the very centre of her power
appeared likely to be shaken by the revolt of Italy. The
principal Italic states, claiming to hold the same rank and
privileges as Eome herself, instead of being treated as
conquered and tributary nations, rose in the year 91 B.C.,
in the form of a powerful confederation against the dominant
metropolis, and commenced the so-called, social war.
Though eventually defeated by the discipline and vast
resources of Eome, they had displayed sufficient determi-
nation and power to ensure the respect o the great republic,,
and obtain by concession the privileges they had failed to
enforce by arms.
During the struggle the confederated states struck coins

illustrative of their claims, their successes, and their national

characters, which form most interesting and characteristic
monuments of this episode in the great story of Home.
Among these coins of the social war I shall only be able to
describe a few, but they will be sufficient to exhibit the
general character of the whole series, which, however, are all
worthy the careful examination and research of the curious
The coins are generally silver denarii, and the first I shall
notice are those with the inscription " Q. Silo," struck by
Quintus Pompsedius Silo, the leader of the Marsians, and"
in fact, of the whole confederacy, of which he was the
animating spirit. Silo endeavoured to give to the revolt the
character of a general Italic protestation against the indivi-
duality of Rome, and the word Italia," either in Latin or
Oscan characters, is found on most of the coins struck by the
combined states during the war. The head on the obverse
of the principal coin I am about to describe is in the style of
the head of Roma, on the Roman denarii, but with the
inscription, "Italia." On the reverse are eight warriors
taking an oath in the ancient Italic manner over a swine
held by a youth, with the inscription " Q. Silo" beneath.
Livy has preserved the form of oath taken in this manner,
which varied according to the people and circumstances. He
makes it run as follows If THEY shall first depart from

them (the conditions} by authority of the state, through

fraud or deceit, may Jupiter in that day strike them (the
Romans, or any other people,) as I shall here this day strike
this swine."* Mr. Millingen considers that the eight war-
riors indicate eight confederated states but M. Merime ;

is of opinion that a confederation is indicated without any

regard to the number, for it is not known how many states

joined or allied themselves in this cause, their number being
very variously computed by different authors. More probable
than either of the above conjectures is that which supposes
four of the figures to represent Romans, and the other four
a party of the confederates, and that the oath being taken
refers to a treaty made between the contending parties

* " Si
consilio, dolo malo ;
prior defexit, publico tu illo die, Jupiter
(populum Romanum) sic ferito, ut ego hunc porcum hie hodie feriam."
Liv. i. 24.

during the course of the war. This view is borne out by

the passage in Cicero,* which states that, " In the treaty
formerly with the Sarnnites, a certain noble youth held up a
swine, by command of the imperator," &c.f
Another coin has a similar head, which may possibly be
the impersonation of Italy, with " Italia" beneath behind
which is a wreath of laurel indicating recent triumphs. The
type of the obverse is the Dioscuri, on prancing horses, as
they are usually represented when intended to denote
victory obtained through their aid. The inscription beneath
is in Oscan or Samnite characters, and has not been
The word in Samnite characters on many of these coins has
been deciphered as Viteliu, supposed to be the ancient name
of Italy, or perhaps a mystic name, as Valentia was of Rome.
The coins with Viteliu in Samnite characters are supposed
by numismatists to belong to the southern confederated
states, and those with Italia to the northern.
The word -Mutil occurring on these coins, written in
Oscan characters, is an abbreviation of, C. Papius Mutilius,
the leader of the Samnites. Some have "Mutil Embrator"
equivalent to the Roman Imperator. The word "Safinim,"
in Samnite characters, is considered to be the national name
of the Samnites in their native dialect.
One of the most striking types of the coins belonging to
the series of the social war, is that in which a bull is seen
overcoming a wolf; the bull symbolising Italy, and the
wolf Rome. The origin of the symbol of the bull as a
national emblem among the Samnites is thus described by
Strabo : The nation having vowed "a spring to Mars,"
their youth went forth, and following a bull, which directed
its course to the south,and lay down in the territory of the
Opici, they there sacrificed to Mars, and adopting the
omen, settled in that district, and assumed the figure of a
bull as a national emblem.
Most of the coins struck by the insurgents during the
social war are denarii, some being marked with the nume-
rical X, and others with ^c,
denoting XVI, after the dena-
rius was declared of the value of sixteen ases.

* Cicero de Inv.
f A treaty sworn to in a similar manner with the Campanian states is
recorded on a gold coin described in the article on " The first Roman Gold."

The restoration of peace, and general prosperity after the

evils of the social war, appears to be represented on a
denarius struck expressly, and most probably at Borne, to
commemorate the auspicious event. The head of personi-
fied Italy, crowned with olive as an emblem of plenty,

appears in front of Roma, with the usual helmet ;

profile over the other or it may be that these heads rather

symbolise agriculture as the characteristic of Italy in general,

and arms, as that of Rome ;though the letters behind,
and in front, Her and YR would rather seem to indicate

Honos and Virtus, (Honour and Virtue,) as the imper-

sonations intended. On the reverse are two female figures
of similar import, the one holding a rod or sceptre, and
placing her foot upon a globe, is designated as Roma by the
letters EO behind the figure; the other, holding a cornucopia,
as -an emblem of plenty, is distinguished by a monogram
as Italia. They are holding each other's hands in token
of concord. The inscription beneath these figures, COEDT,
has generally been considered to be the name Cordus, a sur-
name borne by some of the Scsevolae, as it ^occupies the place
in which such names are commonly found on the family
coins." But on this coin, which is evidently not of the
usual denarian series, but struck to commemorate some
especial and important event, it is perhaps more probable
that it alludes to the celebration of the happy termination
" to
of the civil discords as addressed to the best feelings the
Jieart ;" while the inscription on the other side, KALENI or

KALE:NT, may possibly refer to the date or calend, at which

the pacification was finally concluded, rather than to the
name Calenus, borne by some members of the Fufia family,
as generally supposed.


In order to understand the progress of this class of
Roman coins, it willbe necessary to retrace our steps, as we
have advanced beyond the period of their earliest appearance,
in describing the earliest gold, and the coins of the Social
"War. The earliest coins of ancient nations invariably
present types of a mythic or religious nature the sacred ;

character of the seal or impress by which the weight and

purity of the coins wereguaranteed,being an essential element
in the faith, with which national coined money was at once
accepted as a secure and legal circulating medium. "We
have seen in treating of the different series of coin of Grecian
origin that it was very long before a human portrait was
placed upon the public money, and then, at first, only in
the character of a deity.
The early Eoman coinage followed the same course the ;

earliest types being the figures of such animals as were objects

of periodic sacrifice to the gods, or connected with mythic
versions of the foundation of the state their character as
representing the principal object pourtrayed being secondary.
Even when a wheel on the coins of the Rutuli, or an elbow
on the coins of Ancona, appear a mere pun on the name of
the city or state, these types have no doubt a deeper mean-
ing, and are connected with the early fable, which was the
cause of that name being given to the city.* As skill in art
progressed, we find pictorially descriptive subjects adopted,
but not commonly a few of which I have described in the

Greek series, which are of the character of those I have

referred to in this chapter, representing the act of swearing
to treaties between the E-omans and other Italian States.
"We have seen that the types of the earliest Roman
Denarii and Aurei,f are simply the head of Pallas, or
Rome, with the inscription "Roma," and the reverse, the
Dioscuri, or the ancient national type of the prow of a
galley. Subsequently the names of a number of Roman
personages appear, in addition to the single inscription
"Roma;" to account for which, it would appear that the
officer of the mint for the time being, possessed the privilege
of placing his name upon all coins struck during his tenure
of office, which he may indeed have been compelled to do by
the state, as a precaution against depreciation in weight, or
in the purity of the metal, for any base coin could thus be
traced to the special administration under which it was issued.
* In the "
later Family Coins," and in the coins of modern countries, it is
possible that such types were mere puns, but not in the grave simplicity of
the earlier periods.
"f* See first Roman gold and first Roman silver.

It was formerly considered that this series of coins was

issued by the successive consuls, and consequently bore their
names a very plausible theory, as most of the consular
names occur in these inscriptions. But the theory becomes
no longer tenable when we find that a great number of
names occur of persons never having held the consular
dignity, and it has consequently been abandoned by all recent
writers on the subject. The author of the short article in
Smith's excellent Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities,
appears to think that private individuals had the right of
taking gold and silver to the mint to be coined for their own
use, and that the name of the person sending the metal for
coinage was placed upon all coins struck from it. This view,
although it bears a semblance of probability, is not borne
out by any ancient authority.
The immense variety of types and the great number
of names found upon this series of coins, can scarcely
be accounted for by the supposition that the triumviri
monetarii* or chief officers of the mint, possessed alone the
privilege of placing their names upon the public coinage, for,
if we suppose these officers changed as frequently as once

every year, and that each (as we know they had) had separate
charge of the copper, gold, and silver coinages after the
introduction of the two latter, even then, the succession of
names upon the silver alone, calculated from the time of the
probable origin of the custom of placing the name on the
coin, would not amount to anything like the number found
in that series. To overcome this difficulty, it has been
supposed that during the republic, every officer in charge
of a newly subjected province, had each the privilege
of coining money bearing his name and it is true

that many coins of this class bear evidence in the .types

of having been struck in Asia and Africa. This hypo-
thesis, if found eventually to be correct, would account
for the immense variety of types and names while to ;

account for the great similarity of art displayed, on the

greater portion of the series, we must suppose, that each
officer on receivinghis appointment took out with him
Eoman artisans for this purpose. The money so coined
was most probably applied principally to the payment of

* See article on Roman mints, weights, values, &c.

the Eoman troops, or made current in the district in which
it was issued by a special edict. We know that money was
coined both in Greece and Asia for the payment of the army
of Sulla, and there is no reason for supposing that to be a
solitary instance. Such an issue would not interfere with the
native money that the free cities of many provinces were
still allowed to strike, nor would its forced circulation be

attended with inconvenience, as the Eoman denarius was so

near the weight of the Greek drachma, that it no doubt
passed for the same.
However this may be, it is certain that the names of an
immense number of Eoman families, both patrician and
plebeian, are found on the coins of the later periods of
the Eoman republic, and the placing of such names on
the coinage would seem to commence shortly after the
time of the first native issue of silver, as the treatment
of the types is very similar to that of those denarii with
ROMA alone, which I consider the earliest. Eecent writers
have thought that all the coins termed of "the Eornan
families," belong to a period within fifty
years previous to the reign of Augustus, and,
doubtless, a great number of them do but ;

I am inclined to think it will be found that

this series may be divided into two or three
distinct classes, of which I offer the follow-
ing mode of classification.
silver Coin of First. Those with the simple names, like
those of magistrates, as they occur on the
Greek coinage, and frequently abbreviated in the same
manner, as in the coins bearing the name of one of the
Cloelian family, abbreviated as T. CLOVLI.
Secondly. Those which, in addition to
the names have also the symbols belong-
ing to the family of the individual whose
name appears, or the additional name of
some illustrious ancestor, such as the
one engraved below, of one, the Horatian
silver coins of the
family with the name of the illustrious
Horatian Family.

Thirdly. Such as have the head of Eoma much more

elegantly executed, or changed in character, and the subject

of the reverse more or less connected with the history of

the person or family of the person whose name appears on
the coin. The coins struck under the auspices of Sulla as
an officer of the mint, or by his immediate direction as dic-
tator, are good examples of this style, though
some earlier might perhaps be selected.
The coin engraved here is an aureus the ;

reverse representing Sulla in the act of

triumphing in a quadriga, the style of which
is similar to those with a
Victory or Jupiter,
conducting a biga or quadriga of the earlier
periods. The head of Roma or Pallas on the Gold coin of suiia .

obverse, is rendered much more decorative

in character, and of different proportions to those of earlier
The fourth class I form of those in which all reminiscence
of the ancient types is abandoned, and their place occupied
by a variety of fanciful designs, of heterogeneous character,
generally connected with the private history of the family
of the personage whose name appears upon the coin. This
class probably belongs entirely to a period commencing im-

mediately after the dictatorship of Sulla, 79 B.C., and termi-

nating in the commencement of the reign of Augustus,
perhaps about 30 or 25 B.O. ;* but most of the more striking
belong to the period previous to the dictatorship of Caesar,
as after that epoch, in many instances, the names only of
mint masters appear, in which case they are styled by
numismatists, the moneyers of Caesar, of Lepidus, of Octa-
vianus, &c.
In the commencement of the reign of Augustus, however,
types relative to the ancestral deeds of private families
occur again, and were encouraged by that ruler, as Barthe-
lemi conjectures, in order to accustom the Romans to
receive eventually records of deeds exclusively relating to
the emperor. It is certain that this class of coins, from
the epoch of Sulla to the middle of the reign of Augustus,
may be considered as a transition series, uniting the severe
The death of Antony took place in 30 B.C., but though Octavianus
became sole ruler of the Roman world, the strictly monarchic character of the
rule then established was not fully developed for several years.

simplicity of the types of the early republican money, with

the novel and important historic character of those of
the empire.
The genteSj or families, into which Bomulus divided the
several divisions of the city, were distinctions retained till a
late period of the empire, and were rigorously observed
about the end of the republic, when most of the family
coins were struck.
The following is a list of some of the most remarkable
types of the "family coins," of the last and most interesting
period, by which many names and events, connected with
Boman history, have 'been preserved, which have no other
record than this series of money. Still many coins were
doubtless struck, even during this period, with the old
national types, which may be distinguished from the ancient
ones by the more modern and careful style of the work-

Some of the most remarkable coins of this gens, or family,
are those of the celebrated Sulla and his immediate de-
scendants. Emblems were about this time placed by different
families on the public coinage, which have a near affinity to
the mediaeval system of armorial bearings. As an example, I
may mention the coins bearing the name of Faustus, the
son of Sulla, who caused the types of his father's signet,
the "three trophies," to be placed on the money struck
under his influence. This badge or signet of Sulla was
adopted by the dictator, as Plutarch informs us, under the
following circumstances :The first trophy was erected by
him in the Mithridatic war, after his victory over Arche-
laus, the general of Mithridates, in the plain where the
battle had taken place the second on the top of Tharium,

a craggy mountain, that was afterwards, for a time, the

stronghold of the enemy and the third, after the decisive

victory of Chaeronea.
Another coin of this family, struck in honour of Sulla, has
the inscription FELIX, in allusion to his almost invariable
good fortune. The type of this coin is a Boman figure in
senatorial robes seated on a kind of throne. On either side

are two kneeling figures, one presenting an olive branch,

while the other is bound as a prisoner. This device alludes
to the surrender of Jugurtha, the defeated king of Numidia,
by Bocchus, king of Mauritania, with whom he had sought

A coin of the ^Emilian family, struck about the period
above referred to, bears an interesting type relating to the
tutorship of Ptolemy Epiphanes, King of Egypt, which was
conferred upon the Eomans; when M. Lepidus, one of
that family, in 201 B.C., was appointed to the office, and
represented on this coin in the act of placing a crown
upon the head of the youthful king. The inscription is
TVTOR EEGIS (guardian of the king), and beneath,
M. LEPIDVS the obverse has a turretted head, representing

the city of Alexandria, with ALEXSANDREA. This coin was

struck with the authority of the senate, as the S. C., (Senatus
Consultum,) by decree of the senate, is placed in the upper
part of the coin. The S. C. becomes universal on the copper
coinage of the empire, as of that of the money of the truly
national standard, while it is seldom or never found on the
gold and silver after the reign of Augustus, the coinage of
those metals becoming the exclusive privilege of the
emperors.* Another coin of this family represents

Two Coins of the JEmilian Family.

M. Lepidus on horseback, with the inscription " M. Lepidus

annorum XV. pratextatus liostem occidit, civem servavit,"
signifying that M. Lepidus, at the age of fifteen, when he
still wore the toga pretexta,t killed an enemy, and saved the
* See
Chapter on regulation of Roman coinage, &c.
J* The toga pretexts was a robe bordered \vith purple, which the Roman
youth wore till their fifteenth year, after which they assumed the toga v iritis.

lifeof a citizen. A public statue was decreed by the senate

to the youthful hero for this exploit. The head on the
obverse is probably that of Venus Yictrix.
The type of the latter coin is repeated on coins of the
triumvir Lepidus. Another coin of this family commemo-
rates the victory of Paulus JEmilius Lepidus over Perseus,
the last king of Macedon, when that kingdom became a
Roman province. Lepidus stands at the side of a trophy in
an attitude of command, and Perseus and his two sons as
prisoners on the other. Above is the word TEU, signifying,
possibly, that the triumph accorded to Paulus ./Emilius for
his final campaign in Macedonia lasted three days. Another
coin of the same family represents the subjection of Aretas,
king of Arabia, by M. JSmilius Scaurus. The country is
ingeniously typified by the camel, besides which Aretas is
seen kneeling and presenting an olive branch. The number
of coins of this familv recording ancestral deeds may be
accounted for by the triumvirate of Lepidus, during which,
most probably, the greater number of them were struck.

The coins of the family of Plautia commemorate the
capture of Hypersseus, and several heads of persons they
claimed as ancestors also render them interesting, such as
those of Numa, Tatius, Ahala, &c.

The first of the plebeian family Claudia who bore the
name of Marcellus, was the Roman general who took
Syracuse, and reduced Sicily to the condition of a Roman
province. In his earlier career in Gaul he had slain
with his own hand Britomartus, the G-allic leader, in an
engagement of cavalry. At a subsequent triumph which was
decreed to him by the Senate, the magnificent arms and
armour of Britomartus were carried before him as a trophy,
and were afterwards dedicated by him as spolia opima in the
Temple of Jupiter the third and last time in Roman history
that such an offering was made.

A coin, supposed to be struck by his descendant Cornelius

P. Sertulus Marcellinus, consul, in 18 B.C., records both the
conquest of Sicily and the slaying of the Grallic chieftain.
The obverse has the portrait of the conqueror of Sicily,
accompanied by the Sicilian symbol, the
triquetra,* with the name of the person
under whose auspices the coin was struck,
MARCELLINVS; the reverse exhibiting
Marcellus, covering his head with his toga
after the manner prescribed in religious
ceremonies, in the act of depositing the
spolia opima in the temple of Jupiter Coin of the Claudian
Family '

The branch of the Claudian family bearing the surname
of Marcellus became very influential on the accession of
Augustus to supreme power, in consequence of the previous
marriage of his sister Octavia to one of that family, whose
son Marcellus was at one time intended as the successor of
Augustus, having married his cousin Julia, the daughter of
the emperor ;
but he died at the early age of twenty, uni-
versally regretted for his great virtues and accomplishments.
It was at this period probably that the great events of the
Marcellian branch of the Claudian family were placed on the
coinage by different members of the family at that time
holding office in the mint.


A coin of the Titurian family, represents the maid

Tarpeia crushed by the shields of the Sabine soldiers, to
whom she had betrayed the Capitol, and who had promised
her the " ornaments" they wore upon their arms (frequently
gold torques) as the price of her treachery. Disgusted
with her want of patriotism, though profitirg by it, they
cast upon her their shields, also worn upon the arms, and so
caused the death of the betrayer, as shown on the coin.
This coin appears older than the era of the general class
in which I have placed it but it does not on that account

invalidate the principle of classification I have adopted as ;

* See coins of

the type is national rather than referring to the story of a

particular family. The same observations refer also to
another of the family series, that with the type of the
Dioscuri watering their horses by moonlight at the fountain,
after the battle at Lake Eegillus. The first of these coins
was struck by Lucius Titurius Sabinus, who was of Sabine


This coin was struck in honour of
Caius Nummonius Valla by one of his
descendants. He appears as a Roman
fighting his way single-handed into an
enemy's intrenched camp, and it would
seem, received his surname Yalla, from
the vallum, or palisade, which he forced,
Gold coin of C.N. Valla,
as represented on the coin This is one
of the family coins which, as historic
records were recoined by Trajan.


On a coin of this family the following types and inscrip-

tions are found. On the obverse a female mask resembling
the head of Medusa, with the inscription PLANCVS and on ;

the reverse a winged figure of Aurora, leading the four

horses of the sun. These types have been explained by
the following legend of the early times of Borne. The
tibicines, or pipers, who were indispensable to the cere-
monial of public festivals, having taken offence at an edict of
the censor, Appius Claudius, quitted the city, and retired to
Tibur, the modern Tivoli. The primitive Koinans were
much distressed at this revolt of the state orchestra, and in
the following censorship, that of Plautius, a stratagem was
resorted to by which the indignant pipers were restored to
their admiring public. Plautius himself went to Tibur, and
after making friends as a stranger with the self-exiled
musicians, invited them to supper, where the plentiful
supply of strong wine in due time produced that pleasing

excitement, during which the votary of Bacchus is not alto-

gether clearly cognisant of passing events, or their sig-
nificance. Plautius seized this moment to present each
piper with a mask, so that no one could recognise the other,
and so disguised, persuaded them all to enter a waggon and
take a nocturnal promenade, to which the excited musicians
were no wise averse. As the day broke the waggon and its
inmates entered the gates of Rome, and when, as each
removed his mask, he found himself accompanied by his
brother pipers, and the waggon surrounded by old friends
vociferating their cordial greetings at the happy return of
their beloved musicians, not one of them could resist the
influences of the moment, and amidst general hilarity the
musicians were re-installed in all their former dignities, and a
yearly festival was appointed to celebrate for ever the happy
event. This simple legend of the primitive manners of the
early Romans might still find its like in remote corners of
Europe, where rustic festivities are observed in commemo-
ration of events, quite as simple and patriarchal in their
Plancus, whose name appears upon the coin in question,
claimed descent from the ingenious censor, in allusion to
which he placed the mask on one side of his coins, and on
the other Aurora, the latter type denoting the hour at
which the return to Rome took place.

Coins struck under the influence of the Marcian family,
which claimed descent from Ancus Martius, have the portrait
of Ancus Martius on the obverse, with ANCVS, and on the
reverse, the aqueduct which carried the stream of water
called the Aqua Marcia, to Rome. It was one of the most
important monuments of its class, and was constructed by
the Praetor Q. Marcius in B. c. 145 the letters A. Q. V. A. M.

occur between five arches of the aqueduct, which is sur-

mounted by an equestrian statue. The inscription PHI-
LIPPVS refers to a surname borne by a branch of the

On coins struck by L. Hostilius Saserna, the heads of
Pallor and Pavor, of very remarkable treatment, occur, in
token of the descent claimed from Tullus Hostilius, who
vowed temples to Pallor and Pavor in his battle with the

On a coin of Trio Lucretius, whose name is not otherwise
known, a case of punning by means of types occurs, which
at that period was mere punning, and quite distinct, as it
appears to me, from the "speaking types," so called, of the
earlier periods. The obverse of this coin has the head of
Phoebus the reverse, the crescent moon, and seven stars,

or rather triones the constellation of the Great Bear. The

sun and moon, giving the greatest light, of course refer to
the family name, Lucretius ; while the seven triones are an
evident allusion to the surname.
The next coin, struck during the dictatorship of Julius
Caesar, is of the same class.

The name of Yitellus Q. Yoconius only occurs on coins. He
appears to have been a triumvir of the mint under Julius
Caesar, whose portrait occupies the obverse.* The reverse
has for type a vitulus, or calf, and Q. VOCONIVS VITVLVS
Q. DESIGK, with S.C.

Some interesting coins were struck by the Cornufician
family :
one, of Q. Cornuficius (who lived about